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Novel gene predicts local recurrence in early-onset breast cancer
Date:5/5/2009

HOUSTON - A newly discovered gene known as DEAR1 is mutated in breast cancer and is an independent predictor of local recurrence-free survival in early-onset breast cancer, a research team headed by scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center reports in the journal PLoS Medicine.

"The correlation with local recurrence is significant because so many young women have recurrences in the breast, and cancers that do recur tend to be more aggressive," said senior author Ann McNeill Killary, Ph.D., professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Genetics. "Young age has been considered a risk factor for local recurrence and metastasis. It is important to understand the genetic mechanisms operating in early-onset breast cancer and to determine whether there is a way to identify young women who might be at a higher risk of recurrence."

After Killary's laboratory research discovered DEAR1 (ductal epithelium-associated ring chromosome 1) and implicated it in breast cancer, the team examined a tumor tissue microarray from 123 women whose breast cancer began between ages 25 and 49, all of whom advanced to invasive disease. Of these, 56 percent lacked DEAR1 expression in their tumors, which was associated with 58 percent local recurrence-free survival 15 years after surgery. For those with DEAR1 expression, local recurrence-free survival was 95 percent at 15 years.

"Immunohistochemical staining for DEAR1 could potentially be performed in any hospital setting, and such an assay might predict which women are at a high risk of recurrence and potentially help guide treatment decisions" Killary said, noting the results will need to be validated in a larger cohort of patients.

Breast cancer that develops before age 50 tends to be more aggressive and more likely to recur even in the absence of invasion of the lymph nodes at diagnosis. "Approximately one-fourth of women without nodal involvement will experience a
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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.org
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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