Newly discovered cancer marker paves way for `deadly` breast cancer treatment

Washington DC, Aug 1 (ANI): Medical researchers have identified a new cancer maker, which could also be a possible therapeutic target for what is known to be one of the deadliest breast cancers.

Basal-like breast cancer (BLBC) is an aggressive form of breast cancer and is often referred to as “triple negative,” which means that it is not responsive to the common medical therapeutics. It is more common in African-American women and those under the age of 40.

Researchers from the Boston University and the University of Cyprus compared the markers on the surface of the cancer cells to gene expression profile of breast tumours deposited by researchers in international public databases and found that a molecule named IL13RA2 was abundant in metastatic or late-stage BLBC.

After having a look at publically available data on patients, the researchers were able to predict the likelihood of progression-free survival based on whether the cancer cells had high levels of IL13RA2.

They also discovered that a subtype of BLBC that tended to spread to the lungs quickly had high IL13RA2 levels.

The researchers found that the tumour growth was significantly slower in models, when the amount of IL13RA2 expression was reduced in cancer cells, suggesting that IL13RA2 was involved in cancer growth and spread.

Sam Thiagalingam said that the discovery offered a glimmer of hope for patients struck with BLBC, adding that personalised cancer therapies could be developed by targeting breast cancer cells that express copious levels of IL13RA2.

The study is published in online journal Breast Cancer Research. (ANI)

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