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Researchers discover new hormone receptors to target when treating breast cancer
Date:2/4/2014

red eleven previously undefined cell subtypes. Interestingly, these eleven normal breast cell types were categorized into four new hormonal differentiation groups (HR 0, 1, 2, 3), which were characterized by vitamin D, androgen and estrogen hormone receptor expression.

The researchers took this information and compared it against 3,157 human breast tumors of patients and found that the patients' tumor make-up were similar to one of the eleven normal cell types they discovered. Moreover, the patients had different survival rates and responses to hormone treatments depending on whether the cell types were in the HR 0, 1, 2, or 3 sub-group.

According to the researchers, the HR categories may be helpful in refining classifications presently used to classify breast cancers. Moreover, the findings open the door to the option of triple hormone treatments, which may be more effective than single hormone treatments and may help patients who are resistant to anti-estrogen treatments.

"There are many other interesting treatment opportunities that our findings may lead to," said Santagata. "For instance, early data suggest that targeting androgen and vitamin D receptors in addition to standard chemotherapy may increase effectiveness, and may allow for lower doses of chemotherapy with the same effect."

Also, according to Santagata, there are tumors called triple-negative breast carcinomas, which cannot be treated with conventional endocrine-targeted therapies. The study results suggest that two-thirds of these patients may be candidates for androgen and vitamin D-targeted hormone therapy. Perhaps equally important, researchers found that some breast tumor subtypes, such as basal-like carcinoma, have been classified erroneously due to inaccurate taxonomy of normal cell types.

"It is very exciting to show that there is a similar molecular diversity in normal breast cells and in breast cancer itself, and then to use this info
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Contact: Jessica M Maki
jmaki3@partners.org
617-525-6373
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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