Breast Cancer Gene Linked To Disease Spread Discovered
A gene associated with breast cancer in up to 40% of cases that spreads the disease and leads to death has finally been identified offering hope of gene therapy treatment to avoid breast cancer and prevent metastasis - the spread of cancer.
A team of researchers at Princeton University and The Cancer Institute of New Jersey has identified a long-sought gene that is fatefully switched on in 30 to 40 percent of all breast cancer patients, spreading the disease, resisting traditional chemotherapies and eventually leading to death.
The gene, called "Metadherin" or MTDH, is located in a small region of human chromosome 8 and appears to be crucial to cancer's spread or metastasis because it helps tumor cells stick tightly to blood vessels in distant organs. The gene also makes tumors more resistant to the powerful chemotherapeutic agents normally used to wipe out the deadly cells.
In identifying the genetic mechanism at play in the metastasis of breast cancer, the scientists may have answered one of the biggest mysteries in cancer research and paved the way for new drugs that could thwart the gene's diabolical course.