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New Cancer Classification System Might Boost Patient Outcomes
Date:8/7/2014

nces between two forms of breast cancers called basal-like and luminal. But they also discovered that these differences are significant and that basal-like breast cancers -- commonly referred to as triple-negative -- are a distinct class of tumor.

"What's amazing is that basal breast cancer is as different from luminal breast cancer as it is from, say, kidney cancer," study co-lead author Denise Wolf, a research scientist based in UCSF's Department of Laboratory Medicine, said in the news release.

Basal-like cancers are highly aggressive and more common among black and younger women.

"Even though these basal-like cancers arise in the breast, on the molecular level they have more in common with ovarian cancers and cancers of squamous-cell origin than with other subtypes of breast cancer," explained study co-lead author Christina Yau, a staff scientist at the Buck Institute and assistant professor of surgery at UCSF.

"This is the first time ever you've been able to point to important molecular features shared by basal breast cancer, and by squamous head-and-neck cancer and lung cancer," Wolf said.

"And the same is true of immune activation -- we found that different cancer types have very similar immune signatures, a factor that may be relevant clinically with the rise of new immune therapies," she added.

Further research could reveal that as many as 30 to 50 percent of cancers need to be reclassified, according to Benz.

"Although follow-up studies are needed to validate and refine this newly proposed cancer classification system, it will ultimately provide the biologic foundation for that era of personalized cancer treatment that patients and clinicians eagerly await," Benz believes.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about cancer.

SOURCE: University of California, San Fransciso, n
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