Probing poor prognoses for breast cancer
October 20, 2010
By Greg Borzo
The survival of women with the same type and same stage of breast cancer varies considerably, even when they receive the same treatment. These variations are thought to be primarily due to genetic factors.
One thing that does not vary, however, is the fact that women who get breast cancer before the age of 50 are less likely to survive than those who come down with the disease later in life. They are also more likely to experience a recurrence.
A new research project at the University of Chicago is tackling both these issues for the first time by examining more than 600,000 markers, or elements, in the genes of 4,000 women who got breast cancer early and have had the disease for at least 10 years. The goal of the research is to determine what genetic variations account for the low survival and high recurrence rates among such patients. This work is being made possible by a two-year $1million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant funded by the National Cancer Institute. So far, two full-time positions have been created with these funds.
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