Researchers make progress in understanding breast cancer

A University of Queensland researcher has discovered 9 new genes that drive the development of breast cancer, taking the tally of all genes associated with breast cancer development to 40. Professor Sunil Lakhani from the UQ Centre for Clinical Research, along with an international team of breast cancer researchers lead by Professor Michael Stratton(Sanger Institute, UK), examined all the genes in the genomes of 100 cases of breast cancer.

Professor Sunil Lakhani said mutated cancer-causing genes (called driver genes) were different in different cancer samples, indicating that breast cancer is genetically very diverse. "Understanding the consequences of this diversity will be important in progressing towards more rational treatment," Professor Lakhani said. "The idea behind the work was to establish 'the landscape' of genetic changes in breast cancer with a view to understanding which genes drive a breast cell to become cancerous."

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