This study has been done by the researchers of University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Centre and published online in the November 20 issue of the Journal Nature Medicine.
Researchers have found that from 5-7% of all cases of breast cancer arise as a result of two different types of genetic alterations. Previously, these types of genetic recombination were found related to blood cancers and rare soft tissue tumors but then they were found to be linked to common solid tumors, such as lung cancer and prostate cancer, too.In this research, researchers worked on genetic sequencing of 89 breast cancer cell lines and tumors, and discovered the same repeating patterns in the MAST kinase and Notch family genes. They have found that genetic recombination have significant impact on cells in the lab, while in the tissue culture or in mouse models.
Researchers have explained,
“Both MAST and Notch-family gene fusions have substantial phenotypic effects in breast epithelial cells. Breast cancer cell lines harboring Notch gene rearrangements are uniquely sensitive to inhibition of Notch signaling, and overexpression of MAST1 or MAST2 gene fusions has a proliferative effect both in vitro and in vivo.”
According to researchers, these types of genetic rearrangements can be an important cause of solid tumors and can help in the advancement of “personalized medicine”.
Dan R Robinson, Shanker Kalyana-Sundaram, Yi-Mi Wu, Sunita Shankar, Xuhong Cao, Bushra Ateeq, Irfan A Asangani, Matthew Iyer, Christopher A Maher, Catherine S Grasso, Robert J Lonigro, Michael Quist, Javed Siddiqui, Rohit Mehra, Xiaojun Jing, Thomas J Giordano, Michael S Sabel, Celina G Kleer, Nallasivam Palanisamy, Rachael Natrajan, Maryou B Lambros, Jorge S Reis-Filho, Chandan Kumar-Sinha & Arul M Chinnaiyan, (2011). Functionally recurrent rearrangements of the MAST kinase and Notch gene families in breast cancer. Nature Medicine, doi:10.1038/nm.2580