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May 5, 2009

Scientists Discover a Prognostic Marker for Breast Cancer

  • A gene called DEAR1 is an independent predictor of local recurrence in early-onset breast cancers, according to a team from the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

    In this study, the researchers used a suppression subtractive hybridization on chromosome 1 in a region where loss of heterozygosity regularly occurs. They found a new gene and called it ductal epithelium-associated RING Chromosome 1, or DEAR1. Analysis of 14 samples showed that DEAR1 protein expression was reduced or lost in 71% of ductal carcinomas in situ. Sequence analysis of 55 primary breast tumors showed that 13% contained genetic alterations in DEAR1.

    Additionally, the scientists found that DEAR1 expression was frequently lost in women with early-onset breast cancer. Loss of DEAR1 expression correlated with a strong family history of breast cancer and with a breast cancer subtype that has a poor outcome. At five-year follow-up of a cohort of 123 premenopausal women with onset of breast cancer between the ages of 25 and 49 years, DEAR1-positive expression correlated significantly with a 95% local recurrence-free survival.

    Reporting in PLoS Medicine in a paper called “DEAR1 Is a Dominant Regulator of Acinar Morphogenesis and an Independent Predictor of Local Recurrence-Free Survival in Early-Onset Breast Cancer,” the authors suggest that “DEAR1-negative staining on immunohistochemistry could be an important marker to stratify early-onset breast cancer patients for increased vigilance in follow-up and adjuvant therapy.”


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