Flow technique could simplify targeting cancer therapy

February 01, 2006

A quick and simple technique to characterize breast cancer cells may expedite and improve treatment decisions, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago report in the journal of Experimental and Molecular Pathology.

The researchers found they could use a fast lab test called flow cytometry to determine the level of expression of molecular markers of breast cancer in four established breast cancer cell lines. Doctors routinely examine breast cancer tissue for these markers to characterize tumor type and determine prognosis using standard techniques. But these tests may take weeks to produce results.

In flow cytometry, cells pass in a narrow stream through a laser beam. Molecular markers can be labeled with florescent tags and then detected as they pass through the beam.

"Targeted cancer therapies, therapies that exploit the particular weaknesses of different types of cancer, show enormous promise for the next generation of cancer treatment," said Dr. Rafael Nunez, UIC assistant professor in medicine and principle investigator in the study. "It's not practical to wait weeks after breast cancer surgery, for example, to decide how aggressive follow-up treatment should be. The effectiveness of many therapies depends on timing."

Different tumor cells are marked by the over- or under-expression of particular molecules. It is these differences that can be exploited to determine the prognosis, or likely course, of the disease, and to choose the best treatment option.

"Measuring prognostic markers in breast cancer cells opens up possibilities for broad applications of this technology to tissue samples obtained from needle or surgical biopsies of patients with suspected breast cancers," said Nunez. "Furthermore, it's possible this approach may also be applied to a broad range of other solid tumors, including colon, ovarian, prostate and gastric cancer, to name a few."

Nunez envisions a time when this technology would come packaged in kit form, readily available and easily used in almost any laboratory. "If this technique fulfills its promise, one day soon a lab would receive a tumor tissue sample shipped to us in the morning and have the sample analyzed and typed in time to ship back overnight to the physician making the follow-up treatment decisions," said Nunez. "What now takes weeks or months, with results sometimes coming too late to be useful in treatment decisions, could be done in a matter of hours for a fraction of the current cost."
-end-
UIC ranks among the nation's top 50 universities in federal research funding and is Chicago's largest university with 25,000 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state's major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.

For more information about UIC, visit http://www.uic.edu

University of Illinois at Chicago

Related Breast Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Oncotarget: IGF2 expression in breast cancer tumors and in breast cancer cells
The Oncotarget authors propose that methylation of DVDMR represents a novel epigenetic biomarker that determines the levels of IGF2 protein expression in breast cancer.

Breast cancer: AI predicts which pre-malignant breast lesions will progress to advanced cancer
New research at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, could help better determine which patients diagnosed with the pre-malignant breast cancer commonly as stage 0 are likely to progress to invasive breast cancer and therefore might benefit from additional therapy over and above surgery alone.

Partial breast irradiation effective treatment option for low-risk breast cancer
Partial breast irradiation produces similar long-term survival rates and risk for recurrence compared with whole breast irradiation for many women with low-risk, early stage breast cancer, according to new clinical data from a national clinical trial involving researchers from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.

Breast screening linked to 60 per cent lower risk of breast cancer death in first 10 years
Women who take part in breast screening have a significantly greater benefit from treatments than those who are not screened, according to a study of more than 50,000 women.

More clues revealed in link between normal breast changes and invasive breast cancer
A research team, led by investigators from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, details how a natural and dramatic process -- changes in mammary glands to accommodate breastfeeding -- uses a molecular process believed to contribute to survival of pre-malignant breast cells.

Breast tissue tumor suppressor PTEN: A potential Achilles heel for breast cancer cells
A highly collaborative team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and Ohio State University report in Nature Communications that they have identified a novel pathway for connective tissue PTEN in breast cancer cell response to radiotherapy.

Computers equal radiologists in assessing breast density and associated breast cancer risk
Automated breast-density evaluation was just as accurate in predicting women's risk of breast cancer, found and not found by mammography, as subjective evaluation done by radiologists, in a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Mayo Clinic.

Blood test can effectively rule out breast cancer, regardless of breast density
A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that Videssa® Breast, a multi-protein biomarker blood test for breast cancer, is unaffected by breast density and can reliably rule out breast cancer in women with both dense and non-dense breast tissue.

Study shows influence of surgeons on likelihood of removal of healthy breast after breast cancer dia
Attending surgeons can have a strong influence on whether a patient undergoes contralateral prophylactic mastectomy after a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Young breast cancer patients undergoing breast conserving surgery see improved prognosis
A new analysis indicates that breast cancer prognoses have improved over time in young women treated with breast conserving surgery.

Read More: Breast Cancer News and Breast Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.