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Triple-negative breast cancer subtypes identified using microRNA

  • Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive form of breast cancer that has few treatment options;
  • This large-scale study shows that abnormal levels of small molecules called microRNA can be used to classify this malignancy into four subtypes;
  • The findings could lead to new ways to identify the best therapy for individual patients and to more effective therapies in the future.

COLUMBUS, Ohio A new, large-scale study of triple-negative breast cancer shows that small molecules called microRNA can be used to define four subtypes of this aggressive malignancy.

The findings, by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC James) working with collaborators in Italy, could lead to new screening methods, prognostic markers and perhaps new targeted treatments for this aggressive and often-fatal form of breast cancer.

The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.

"The treatment of women with triple-negative breast cancer is challenging because this malignancy can be very different genetically from one patient to another," says co-senior investigator Dr. Charles Shapiro, director of Breast Medical Oncology and professor of internal medicine at the OSUCCC James.

"We believe these microRNA signatures define novel sub-sets of triple-negative breast cancer and offer new insights into the biology of the disease and better ways to treat these patients," Shapiro says.

The microRNAs that compose the signatures are involved in regulating cell growth, proliferation and survival, and in cell movement and migration.

"These findings strongly suggest that microRNAs play an important role in triple-negative breast cancer and might be used to better identify the most effective treatment for a patient's tumor," says co-senior investigator and researcher Dr. Kay Huebner, professor of molec

Contact: Darrell E. Ward
Ohio State University Medical Center

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