Research Cautiously Suggests That a Certain Class of Breast Cancer Is Similar to Ovarian Cancer


Some exciting developments in the byzantine world of cancer research have led scientists to discover that there are four main classes of breast cancer, and, most significantly, that one of those classes might be vulnerable to drugs already used to treat ovarian cancer, suggesting a link between the two types of cancers that may be driven by “similar biological developments” in the female body.

Now, this is going to get pretty mind-altering so everyone just hold on and, most importantly, remember: the humanities is too a discipline, just as rigorous and technical as organic chemistry or anatomy (it totally isn’t). The new study, which was published in the journal Nature on Sunday, follows earlier research into the biological details of tumors, rather than focusing on where in the body cancer occurs. According to the authors, this type of research might have a better chance of revealing the genetic weaknesses of cancer, which can improve drug development. “Now,” Dr. Matthew Ellis of the Washington University School of Medicine explained in a statement, “we can investigate which drugs work best for patients based on the genetic profiles of their tumors.”

Researchers analyzed the DNA of breast cancer tumors in 825 patients, which is how they were able to group breast cancer into four main classes. One class in particular bore a striking resemblance to ovarian cancer, which suggests that the two diseases might be treated the same way. Ellis tempered any enthusiasm over the respectable amount by saying that more work will have to be done to determine if the links between a class of breast cancer and ovarian cancer are similar enough to be treated with the same drug.

New genetic clues to breast cancer found [AP via NBC]

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