Scientists from Australia have identified a gene responsible for the development of the most aggressive and dangerous type of breast cancer with a catastrophically low survival rate. This is stated in an article published in the journal Nature Communications.
The growth of hormone-sensitive breast cancer depends on the presence of progesterone and estrogen. This type of cancer is generally sensitive to hormone therapy, but a small percentage of patients suffer from a special type of estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) cancer or IntClust2, which is the most deadly of all breast cancers. Metastases often penetrate the lymph nodes and spread throughout the body, which leads to the death of 50% of women with this cancer.
Scientists studied 119 breast cancer samples. As it turned out, IntClust2 is characterized by significant amplification of the DNA region on chromosome 11, where the AAMDC gene is located. When the scientists lowered AAMDC levels in mouse breast cancer cells, a large number of malignant cells underwent programmed cell death.
Hormonal treatment deprives the tumor of the hormones it uses to grow. But extra copies of AAMDC may protect cancer from therapy. Thus, the tumor manages to maintain growth under conditions of metabolic stress.