When triple-negative breast cancer is still in its earliest, pre-cancerous stages, the tumor suppressor miRNA-29c becomes progressively deactivated, allowing the cancer to progress, MD Anderson researchers recently discovered.
A team led by Isabelle Bedrosian, M.D., professor of Breast Surgical Oncology, found that low levels of miRNA-29c predict poor overall patient survival. Conversely, they researchers confirmed that higher levels of miRNA-29c in precancerous cells inhibit cancer cell formation.
“We also explored additional opportunities for preventing triple negative breast cancer and found that DNA methylation plays a role in inhibiting miRNA-29c during the formation of tumors,” Bedrosian said. “These results demonstrate that miRNA-29c loss plays a key role in early development of triple-negative breast cancer.”
The team’s findings suggest that DNA methylation is involved in the suppression of miRNA-29c early in triple negative breast cancer’s progression and the study results provide opportunities to develop and test novel strategies for prevention of the disease.