The Asco Post

Scientists Find Promising New Target for Triple-negative Breast Cancer

By The ASCO Post
Posted: 3/20/2013 3:24:30 PM
Last Updated: 3/20/2013 3:24:30 PM

Key Points:
  • Scientists examined 170 tumor samples from patients with triple-negative breast cancer and found that over half of these women had high levels of the MET biomarker.
  • Women with high levels of MET expression were three times more likely to have a breast cancer recurrence within 5 years of diagnosis than those with low levels (33% vs 11%).

Women with triple-negative breast cancer are more likely to have high levels of the MET biomarker in their tumors, making it a promising new target for cancer drugs according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer.

High Levels of MET Expression

Scientists from Austria and Greece examined 170 tumor samples from patients with triple-negative breast cancer and found that over half of these women had high levels of the MET biomarker.

The study also showed that women with high levels of this biomarker were three times more likely to have a breast cancer recurrence within 5 years of diagnosis than those with low levels (33% vs 11%). Nearly 90% of grade 3 tumors had high levels MET expression.

Opens Door to New Approaches

Study author Martin Filipits, PhD, from the Medical University of Vienna, said, “Our findings suggest that levels of the MET biomarker in a patient’s breast tumor could be an important way of predicting the best type of treatment for women with triple-negative breast cancer.

“This aggressive type of breast cancer is harder to treat, as the tumors don’t have the receptors that the common drugs can target—blocking the growth of the tumor,” he continued. “But knowing which women have high levels of this molecule in their breast tumors could help doctors to adapt the type of treatment they’re given. Levels of this biomarker could also give an idea of how likely the cancer is to come back.”

Julie Sharp, MD, Senior Science Information Manager at Cancer Research UK, said, “Triple-negative breast cancer can be very difficult to treat, but this interesting research could open up the possibility of new approaches to monitor and treat this aggressive disease.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.

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