Friday, January 30, 2009

The Genetic Marker For Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is easily one of the foremost killers of women in the world today, and like other cancers, it can be very difficult to properly treat. The fact is, like any other cancer, it can be difficult to detect accurately, and treatments for it can range from being limited in scope to being potentially harmful to healthy areas of the body. So research delving into ways to detect, treat, or even prevent cancer can be considered among the most invaluable projects that medical science can undertake. One recent development in this area is very promising, as it has found what appears to be a genetic marker linked to breast cancer.

The team has found evidence suggesting that a single gene can play a crucial role in the development of breast cancer, and can increase the risk factor significantly. The metastasis gene metadherin or MTDH also displayed evidence of being able to increase the cancer's resistance to chemotherapy. The genetic mutation was found in people with aggressive cases of breast cancer. Drugs capable of blocking the gene are believed to potentially be able to keep localized tumors from spreading, increasing the chances of the patient's survival. The gene was also found to be one of the few such genetic alterations that have had their mode of action identified, making it an easier task to find a way to nullify it.

Stopping the spread of cancerous cells in a body is actually of critical importance. While an estimated 98% of all patients who have breast cancer will survive five years or more, only a smaller percentage of them – around 27% – who have had the condition spread to other areas of the body will survive. The survival rate for patients with breast cancer drops dramatically once it has spread to other areas or organs, though this is not a very common occurrence.

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