Science News
from research organizations

Breast, ovarian cancer may have similar origins, study finds

Date:
May 23, 2016
Source:
Boston University Medical Center
Summary:
While breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in women worldwide, ovarian cancer also is a significant source of mortality as the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women. These facts reflect the continued need for further understanding and innovation in cancer treatment. A new study describes a new concept of how these two cancers may evolve in a similar way and may eventually lead to more effective therapies for both.
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While breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in women worldwide, ovarian cancer also is a significant source of mortality as the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women. These facts reflect the continued need for further understanding and innovation in cancer treatment.

A new study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, describes a new concept of how these two cancers may evolve in a similar way and may eventually lead to more effective therapies for both.

"Though breast and ovarian cancer are distinctly clinically different, our analysis uncovered many overlaps, particularly with respect to genetic and epigenetic alterations," explained corresponding author Sibaji Sarkar, PhD, instructor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). (Epigenetics is when genetically identical cells express their genes differently, causing different outcomes.)

BUSM researchers compared genetic, micro-environmental, stromal (connective tissue cells of any organ) and epigenetic changes common between breast and ovarian cancer cells, as well as the clinical relevance of these changes. They observed that selected genes including some oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes are similarly altered in these two types of cancers.

The study also presents a new model that explains how growth promoting genes could be epigenetically turned on and growth inhibiting genes could be epigenetically turned off in cancer cell formation.

"Both breast and ovarian cancers may have a similar origin. These similarities suggest that better understanding of this process will generate more effective chemotherapeutics, as well as strategies to circumvent drug resistance and cancer relapse," added Sarkar.


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Materials provided by Boston University Medical Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mckenna Longacre, Nicole Snyder, Genevieve Housman, Meghan Leary, Karolina Lapinska, Sarah Heerboth, Amber Willbanks, Sibaji Sarkar. A Comparative Analysis of Genetic and Epigenetic Events of Breast and Ovarian Cancer Related to Tumorigenesis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2016; 17 (5): 759 DOI: 10.3390/ijms17050759

Cite This Page:

Boston University Medical Center. "Breast, ovarian cancer may have similar origins, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160523160636.htm>.
Boston University Medical Center. (2016, May 23). Breast, ovarian cancer may have similar origins, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160523160636.htm
Boston University Medical Center. "Breast, ovarian cancer may have similar origins, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160523160636.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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