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High levels of master heat shock protein linked to poor prognosis in breast cancer patients
Date:10/31/2011

FINDINGS: Whitehead Institute scientists report that patients whose estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancers have high levels of an ancient cellular survival factor experience poor outcomes -- including increased mortality. The researchers also found that invasive ER-positive tumors with elevated levels of this factor, the protein known as heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), tend to be larger and more aggressive than those with low levels.

RELEVANCE: According to the American Cancer Society, approximately two-thirds of breast cancer patients have ER-positive tumors. HSF1 status may shed light not only on prognosis but also on how such patients might respond to specific therapies.

High levels of master heat shock protein linked to poor prognosis in breast cancer patients

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (October 31, 2011) Whitehead Institute scientists report that patients whose estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancers have high levels of the ancient cellular survival factor heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) experience poor outcomes -- including increased mortality.

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately two-thirds of breast cancer patients have ER-positive tumors. Although ER-positive breast cancers are often associated with better outcomes than other breast cancer tumor types, including those that are negative for the HER-2 receptor and so-called triple negative breast cancers (those lacking estrogen, progesterone, and HER-2 receptors), patient prognoses can still vary widely.

"HSF1's relationship to prognosis [in ER-positive patients] raises the interesting possibility for diagnostic applications -- HSF1 levels may have a role in helping determine who will have a better outcome and possibly who will have a poorer response to certain drugs," says Sandro Santagata, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Whitehead Member Susan Lindquist and first author of the study whose results are published online this week
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Contact: Nicole Giese
giese@wi.mit.edu
617-258-6851
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Source:Eurekalert  

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