Research gives idea of cancer genome

Research gives idea of cancer genome

LONDON - Reuters
Research gives idea of cancer genome

Breast cancer kills 450,000 women a year. Hürriyet photo

Scientists have mapped the complete genetic codes of 21 breast cancers and created a catalogue of the mutations that accumulate in breast cells, raising hopes that the disease may be able to be spotted earlier and treated more effectively in future.

The research, the first of its kind, untangles the genetic history of how cancer evolves, allowing scientists to identify mutational patterns that fuel the growth of breast tumors, and start to work out the processes behind them.

“These findings have implications for our understanding of how breast cancers develop over the decades before diagnosis in adults and might help to find possible targets for improved diagnosis or therapeutic intervention in the future,” said Mike Stratton, who led the research team.

Most common cancer

Breast cancer kills more than 450,000 women a year worldwide and is the most common cancer among women, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“This is the first time we’ve been able to delve fully into breast cancer genomes in such a thorough way,” said Peter Campbell, head of cancer genetics and genomics at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, where the studies were led.

 The work had given scientists “a full panoramic view of the cancer genome” and helped them identify “mutational patterns rather than individual mutations in specific genes”, he added. “We’ve known for many years now that all cancers are due to abnormalities of DNA...that occur in every single cell of the body over the course of a lifetime,” said Stratton.

“But although we’ve known that, it’s remarkable how rudimentary our knowledge is about what the processes are that cause these abnormalities, these mutations in our DNA.”