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Study Splits Breast Cancer Into Four Treatable Types

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Study Splits Breast Cancer Into Four Treatable Types

A new study splits breast cancer into four treatable types…

Breast cancer has, for years been considered a single disease – even though it’s clear that each case differs from the next. But now, a new study has categorized the disease into four different types, each of which can be targeted with specific treatments.

The study is the first comprehensive genetic analysis of breast cancer to date, and was conducted as part of a project called the Cancer Genome Atlas.

The study analyzed the tumors of 825 patients, and while the researchers found around 40 genetic alterations that might be attacked by drugs, the genetic effects could be boiled down to four cancer types.

stduy catagorizes breast cancer 4 types Study Splits Breast Cancer Into Four Treatable Types

Breast Cancer Categorized Into 4 Treatable Types

The teams notes the much more work needs to be done before effective treatments can be safely outlined, especially given that cancerous tumors of the same type can still vary greatly from person-to-person.

Nevertheless, the findings do have some immediate implications. For example the results showed that routine treatments for ovarian cancer could also be applied to some forms of breast cancer. And in the future, the findings will eventually lead to better diagnosis and tailor made treatments.

Joe Gray, a genetic expert at Oregon Health & Science University, said.

“We now have a good view of what goes wrong in breast cancer. We haven’t had that before.” [NY Times]

The study was published in the July edition of Nature.


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  1. Jamie Condliffe: Study Splits Breast Cancer Into Four Treatable Types. Gizmodo, 09/24/2012.

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