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Mayo Clinic breast cancer study finds new type of mutation
Date:4/15/2012

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered a new class of molecular mutation in various forms of breast cancer, a finding that may shed new light on development and growth of different types of breast tumors. Called fusion transcripts, the mutated forms of RNA may also provide a way to identify tumor subtypes and offer new strategies to treat them, investigators say.

Their study, published in the April 15 issue of Cancer Research, is the first to systematically search for fusion genes and fusion transcripts linked to different types of breast tumors.

Oncologists currently recognize three basic types of breast tumors estrogen-receptor (ER)-positive, HER2-positive, and triple negative.

"But breast cancer is much more complex than indicated by these three subtypes, and one of the challenges of treating the disease is to identify gene markers that predict how a tumor will respond to a specific treatment," says senior investigator Edith Perez, M.D., deputy director of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center in Florida and director of the Breast Cancer Translational Genomics Program, which involves researchers at all three Mayo Clinic campuses.

"The discovery of subtype-specific fusion transcripts in breast cancer represents a step in this direction," she says. "Our findings indicate that fusion transcripts are much more common in breast cancer than had been realized. They represent a new class of mutation whose role in breast cancer is not understood at all."

"Fusion transcripts have the power to produce proteins that are relevant to tumor development, growth, and sensitivity to treatment, so we may have a brand new set of genomic changes that may help us understand, and
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Contact: Paul Scotti
scotti.paul@mayo.edu
904-953-2299
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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