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Susan Young Rojahn

A View from Susan Young Rojahn

Similar Molecular Origins for Certain Breast and Ovarian Cancers

Therapeutics for one could work in the other, suggests the latest Cancer Genome Atlas study.

  • September 24, 2012

A hard-to-treat form of breast cancer sometimes called “triple negative” is more like certain kinds of ovarian and lung cancers than like other breast cancers, and so doctors may be able to treat it with drugs known to work in tumors in these different tissues, suggests the latest report from the Cancer Genome Atlas.  

Much of what genomics is teaching us about cancer is that every cancer type and even every tumor is different at the genetic and molecular level (not to mention that different parts of a tumor can have molecular changes not found throughout). But researchers are also finding that tumors from different parts of the body can be more alike than tumors found in the same organ, as was shown in Sunday’s report in Nature.

As Christopher Benz, an oncologist at the University of California San Francisco, told the San Francisco Chronicle: 

“We’re going to move farther and farther from the practice of classifying cancers by where they arise and more and more by what their molecular composition and wiring is all about.” 

This study is the latest report from the Cancer Genome Atlas, an NIH-funded project that will examine the genomic and molecular landscapes of at least 20 tumor types.


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