Gene Discovery Offers Hope for Treating ER-positive Breast Cancer

Anne Li                                   1/15/17


Estrogen is an important female hormone that signals the breasts to form during puberty. It's a necessity for normal mammary gland development. Yet, in some cases, the hormone also helps abnormal breast cells to grow, giving rise to the most common subtype of breast cancer, called estrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) disease. How and why this happens has long been investigated. "One of the key questions that has eluded us for many years is how, at the molecular level within the breast cancer tumors, does estrogen drive cell proliferation," says Paraic Kenny, PhD, director of the oncology research laboratory at the Kabara Cancer Research Institute in Wisconsin. He's been working on an American Cancer Society-funded project to better understand how problems with estrogen signaling in the body drive breast cancer development. His research suggests that a gene switched on during puberty, called Amphiregulin, plays a critical role. "Our American Cancer Society-supported research has allowed us to identify a new and very important mechanism that controls the cell proliferation in ER-positive breast cancer," says Kenny. "We have determined that Amphiregulin, a key growth factor, is required for the growth of ER-positive human breast cancer cell lines in mouse models."


See original article at: http://www.cancer.org/research/acsresearchupdates/breastcancer/gene-discovery-offers-hope-for-treating-er-positive-breast-cancer



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