Common Denominator in Breast Cancer

While breast cancer devastates all those affected, researchers have had a tough time finding a common denominator at the molecular level. Now Saraswati Sukumar, associate professor of oncology and pathology, and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center have identified a molecular alteration affecting the vast majority of primary breast cancers. Hypermethylation of the 14-3-3 s gene (s) and subsequent loss of expression are the most consistent molecular alterations in breast cancer identified to date (A.T. Ferguson et al., "High frequency of hypermethylation at the 14-3-3 s locus leads to gene silencing in breast cancer," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 97:6049-54, May 23, 2000.). They found that s expression is undetectable in 94 percent of breast tumors studied (45 out of 48). Originally identified as a p53-inducible gene that is responsive to DNA damaging agents, s prevents cell cycle...

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