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Seeking more accurate predictors, treatment

Conquest - Summer 2012

Research links protein regulation pathway to poor prognosis in breast cancer

Funda Meric-Bernstam, M.D.

Four proteins have been linked to poor prognosis for certain types of breast cancer and could lead to targeted therapies, according to MD Anderson researchers.

The proteins involved in translation, the final step of general protein production, are regulated by the PI3K/mTOR molecular signaling pathway, which has been linked to development and progression of several cancers.

More recently, mTOR activation has been tied to resistance to standard endocrine therapy in estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer, says Funda Meric-Bernstam, M.D., professor in 
MD Anderson’s Department of Surgical Oncology, who presented the research.

The findings, if validated by additional studies, could lead to markers that help select patients who may have a high risk of relapse if treated with traditional endocrine therapy alone and identify those who might benefit from an additional targeted therapy, Meric-Bernstam says.

“As we understand how to select patients better we can more efficiently use these targeted therapies to improve outcomes for breast cancer patients,” she says.

Reported April 2012 at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Read more Frontline: Latest research advances

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