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New Research Sheds Light on Breast Cancer Prognosis

Two studies examine protein linked to tumor growth for clues to better treatments

FRIDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- Two new studies have found that levels of the protein caveolin-1 found in stromal connective tissue near a breast cancer tumor can accurately predict a patient's prognosis and may provide a pathway to future treatments.

Low levels of caveolin-1, which plays a role in how cells absorb things, in the stromal cells were linked to a poor patient outcome in a study by Dr. Agnieszka K. Witkiewicz, from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and colleagues. The findings are published in the June issue of the American Journal of Pathology.

The second study, in the same issue of the journal, found that a similar lack of stromal caveolin-1 in mice was associated with more aggressive tumor growth in the rodents, according to Erica K. Sloan, from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in East Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues.

The findings led Sloan's research team to hypothesize that caveolin-1 may work as a tumor suppressant, at least in stromal tissue.

"These studies suggest that stromal caveolin-1 expression may be a potential therapeutic target and a valuable prognostic indicator of breast cancer progression," Sloan and colleagues concluded in their report.

Previous research had found that caveolin-1 plays a big part in the development of breast cancer tumors, according to a news release from the journal.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about breast cancer.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: American Journal of Pathology, news release, May 22, 2009

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