National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October
is National Breast Cancer Awareness month and this year it celebrates its 26th
birthday. Breast cancer is the second most fatal form of cancer in women, with over 48,000 new cases
diagnosed each year, which equates to one every ten minutes.

In
BioMed Central’s dedicated Breast Cancer
Research
journal, the potential treatment of breast
cancer metastases has been investigated. The role of inflammation in the
pathogenesis of cancers is becoming more established, and in this study transglutaminase 2 (TG2) is
investigated. Increased TG2 and its associated downstream expression of
Interleukin-6 (IL6) are correlated to the aggression of cancer and the
production of distant metastases. Monitoring of TG2 and IL6 may offer an idea
as to the prognosis of the cancer. Additionally, if TG2 and IL6 could be
regulated, they may provide a way to limit the production of metastases.

It
is hoped that pharmacogenomic information will help to personalize treatment
for breast cancer, but will
knowledge of a patient’s genetic profile really
effect the choice of therapy? Many recent news articles have suggested that
doctors are
reluctant to use pharmacogenomic information when prescribing, yet
in an article recently published in Genome Medicine
, Elad Ziv
and colleagues found that specific genotype information does affect the
treatment offered. The  res
earch team educated
patients who were taking or planning to
take Tamoxifen as to their CYP2D6 status. They
grouped the  women into poor, intermediate, extensive or ultra-rapid metabolisers on the
basis of their genotype. They also discussed alternative treatment options. The
team found that nearly half of the poor metaboliser group, who at the time were
thought not likely to benefit from Tamoxifen, switched treatment. So doctors do
take into account pharmacogenomic information, even without definitive evidence
to indicate an improved outcome.

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