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Sporadic breast cancers start with ineffective DNA repair systems, Pitt researchers find
Date:11/29/2010

oblems and initiate repair processes. The same system repairs damage caused by many environmental carcinogens, including tobacco smoke.

"Even in healthy breast tissue, this system is only about one-fifth as effective as it is in skin," Dr. Latimer noted. "This deficiency could set the stage for sporadic cancer development, with the risk increasing with age as DNA damage accumulates."

For the study, the researchers grew and assessed 19 sporadic, stage I breast tumors placed into culture directly from surgeries to test their NER pathways. In every case, there was a deficiency in repair capacity compared to disease-free breast tissue.

"That is a remarkably consistent feature for cancers that might otherwise seem random in their genesis," Dr. Latimer noted. "We rarely see a universal rule when it comes to breast cancer, but then until now, we have rarely studied stage I disease."

Some chemotherapy drugs work especially well on cells that exhibit reduced DNA repair, but they are typically given in later-stage disease. The new findings suggest, however, that these approaches could be effective in treating early stage disease, she noted.


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Contact: Anita Srikameswaran
SrikamAV@upmc.edu
412-578-9193
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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