A new study has found that when parents get tested for breast cancer genes, many of them share their results with their children, even with those who are very young. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study also revealed that most parents think that their children are not distressed when they learn about the test results. For parents, one of the primary motivations for getting tested for hereditary cancer genes is to better understand the risk that their children face; however, many parents struggle with the decision of whether, and when, to tell their minor children the results of such tests. To help determine what factors make parents more or less likely to report their test results to their children, Angela Bradbury, MD, of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and her colleagues interviewed 253 parents who had genetic testing for mutations in two common breast cancer-related genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) that can be inherited.
Cancers rarely are deadly unless they evolve the ability to grow beyond the tissues in which they first arise. Normally, cells - even early-stage tumor cells - are tethered to scaffolding that helps to restrain any destructive tendencies. But scientists from the University of Helsinki, Finland, and from UCSF have identified a cleaver-wielding protein that frees some tumor cells, allowing them to further misbehave. The protein, they discovered, often blankets the surface of breast tumor cells and can help untether the cells from the matrix of their native tissue. Once released, they may continue to expand their numbers into other tissues where their normal counterparts do not tread. The protein, called hepsin, is a protease, a class of enzymes that cleaves, or cuts, other proteins.
Using two drugs that inhibit the growth factor HER2 for preoperative treatment of early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer appears to have better results than treatment with a single agent. In a report in the January 17 issue of The Lance t, an international research team reports that a protocol adding lapatinib ( Tykerb ) to trastuzumab ( Herceptin ) was more effective than single-drug treatment with either drug in eliminating microscopic signs of cancer at the time the tumors were surgically removed. "This is the first demonstration that adding a second anti-HER2 therapy, lapatinib, to trastuzumab is superior to trastuzumab alone in patients with early breast cancer, " says JosÃ Baselga, MD, PhD, chief of Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center, who led the study.
Using two cell surface markers found to be highly expressed in breast cancer lymph node metastases, researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center, working with colleagues at other institutions, have developed targeted, fluorescent molecular imaging probes that can non-invasively detect breast cancer lymph node metastases. The new procedure could spare breast cancer patients invasive and unreliable sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsies and surgery-associated negative side effects. Their study was published in a recent issue of Clinical Cancer Research (18:1), a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research. "The majority of breast cancer patients, up to 74 percent, who undergo SLN biopsy are found to be negative for axillary nodal, or ALN, metastases, " said corresponding author David L.
A key protein potentially involved in regulating breast cancer progression has been identified by researchers at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. Led by professor Costel Darie, the team worked to identify the binding partner of Tumor Differentiating Factor (TDF), a pituitary hormone that had previously been shown to reduce cancer progression in breast cancer cells. Earlier studies had shown that breast cancer cells treated with TDF lost their cancerous characteristics and began acting like normal mammary cells, suggesting that TDF had tumor-suppressing capabilities. However, how TDF acted remained unclear, leading Darie's group to initiate a search for a cellular receptor in cancer cells that might bind TDF and transmit its anti-tumorigenic cues. Darie's group found that a receptor, labeled TDF-R, was found exclusively in breast, but not other cancer, cells, suggesting a level of specificity that agrees with previous reports of the efficacy of TDF.