Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

High levels of master heat shock protein linked to poor prognosis in breast cancer patients

Date:
November 1, 2011
Source:
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Summary:
Scientists report that patients whose estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancers have high levels of an ancient cellular survival factor experience poor outcomes -- including increased mortality. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately two-thirds of breast cancer patients have ER-positive tumors. HSF1 status may shed light not only on prognosis but also on how such patients might respond to specific therapies.

Whitehead Institute scientists report that patients whose estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancers have high levels of the ancient cellular survival factor heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) experience poor outcomes -- including increased mortality.

Related Articles


According to the American Cancer Society, approximately two-thirds of breast cancer patients have ER-positive tumors. Although ER-positive breast cancers are often associated with better outcomes than other breast cancer tumor types, including those that are negative for the HER-2 receptor and so-called triple negative breast cancers (those lacking estrogen, progesterone, and HER-2 receptors), patient prognoses can still vary widely.

"If HSF1 status can help predict which of the ER-positive patients will do well with standard treatments and which ones won't, that would be really helpful," says Sandro Santagata, who is a postdoctoral researcher in Whitehead Member Susan Lindquist's lab. "In terms of understanding the biology, we think these findings are really important for reinforcing our interest in pursuing the heat shock response itself as a therapeutic target."

"HSF1's relationship to prognosis [in ER-positive patients] raises the interesting possibility for diagnostic applications -- HSF1 levels may have a role in helping determine who will have a better outcome and possibly who will have a poorer response to certain drugs," says Sandro Santagata, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Whitehead Member Susan Lindquist and first author of the study whose results are published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The heat shock response, which is controlled by transcription factors like HSF1, enables cells to withstand temperature spikes and other stressors. Crammed with distorted and abnormal proteins, cancer cells are deviants that live in a tumor's distorted landscape; a world lacking abundant nutrients and oxygen. To survive these exceptionally stressful circumstances, many cancer cells have usurped the normally beneficial heat shock response to support their existence.

To see how HSF1 levels in cancer cell nuclei are associated with the cancer's aggressiveness, Santagata examined HSF1 levels in breast cancer tissue samples from 1,841 participants in one of the largest and longest-running epidemiological studies of women's health, the Nurses' Health Study. Santagata and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health and University of Miami then looked at the relationship between HSF1 status and the participants' outcomes. Compared with ER-positive breast cancer patients with low levels of HSF1, those with high levels of HSF1 had a poorer outcome, including increased mortality. He also noted that invasive ER-positive tumors with elevated HSF1 levels tended to be larger and more aggressive than those with normal HSF1 levels.

Because of this strong link between HSF1 concentrations and prognosis, HSF1 testing could become a valuable part of the oncologist's toolkit.

"If HSF1 status can help predict which of the ER-positive patients will do well with standard treatments and which ones won't, that would be really helpful," says Santagata, who is also an instructor in pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "In terms of understanding the biology, we think these findings are really important for reinforcing our interest in pursuing the heat shock response itself as a therapeutic target."

This research was supported by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, National Cancer Institute, Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (DoD-CDMRP) Breast Cancer Research Program, Public Health Service, Specialized Program Of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Breast Cancer from the National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services, GlaxoSmithKline, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, American Cancer Society New England Division-SpinOdyssey, Marble Foundation, and V Foundation for Cancer Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. The original article was written by Nicole Giese. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sandro Santagata, Rong Hu, Nancy U. Lin, Marc L. Mendillo, Laura C. Collins, Susan E. Hankinson, Stuart J. Schnitt, Luke Whitesell, Rulla M. Tamimi, Susan Lindquist, and Tan A. Ince. High levels of nuclear heat-shock factor 1 (HSF1) are associated with poor prognosis in breast cancer. PNAS, 2011 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1115031108

Cite This Page:

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. "High levels of master heat shock protein linked to poor prognosis in breast cancer patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031154121.htm>.
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. (2011, November 1). High levels of master heat shock protein linked to poor prognosis in breast cancer patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031154121.htm
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. "High levels of master heat shock protein linked to poor prognosis in breast cancer patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031154121.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins