Breast Cancer Research Moves Forward

Scientists from Ohio State University recently published research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences identifying 37 novel messenger RNA(mRNA) and MicroRNA(miRNA) molecules associated with invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), the most common type of Breast Cancer(BC).

The researchers generated an integrated profile of IDC BC by investigating common underlying mechanisms related to the overall survival of patients from various different BC subclasses. According to the authors, “the aim of this work is to assess the predictive value of such an integrated profile.”

They identified 30 new mRNAs and 7 miRNAs  molecules by integrating DNA Methylation, mRNA, and miRNA genetic sequencing data from a 466 patient cohort from The Cancer Genome Atlas into one prognostic RNA signature. The researchers believe this signature can be used to determine the future status, e.g their survivability and likely response to treatment, of patients with Breast Cancer.

The researchers validated the integrated RNA signature by testing its predictions on eight different BC cohorts, comprising a total of 2,399 patients.  According to the publication, “The mRNA component of the prognostic signature was significantly predictive for outcome in all 8 of the BC cohorts.”

Most importantly, this new testing regime is most accurate when being used to detect early stage cancers. Given the costs associated with finding cancers in their final and most lethal stages research like this will give medical professionals the tools they need to more quickly and accurately diagnose potential cancers. Additionally these new molecules, having never been associated with BC before, represent new avenues for potential pharmaceutical therapies.


By William Tatum