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Chapter 27 -- Breast Cancer Genomics, Section VI, Pathology and Biological Markers of Invasive Breast Cancer

Description: Breast cancer is predominantly a disease of the genome with cancers arising and progressing through accumulation of aberrations that alter the genome - by changing DNA sequence, copy number, and structure in ways that that contribute to diverse aspects of cancer pathophysiology. Classic examples of genomic events that contribute to breast cancer pathophysiology include inherited mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, TP53, and CHK2 that contribute to the initiation of breast cancer, amplification of ERBB2 (formerly HER2) and mutations of elements of the PI3-kinase pathway that activate aspects of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling and deletion of CDKN2A/B that contributes to cell cycle deregulation and genome instability. It is now apparent that accumulation of these aberrations is a time-dependent process that accelerates with age. Although American women living to an age of 85 have a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer, the incidence of cancer in women younger than 30 years is uncommon. This is consistent with a multistep cancer progression model whereby mutation and selection drive the tumor's development, analogous to traditional Darwinian evolution. In the case of cancer, the driving events are changes in sequence, copy number, and structure of DNA and alterations in chromatin structure or other epigenetic marks. Our understanding of the genetic, genomic, and epigenomic events that influence the development and progression of breast cancer is increasing at a remarkable rate through application of powerful analysis tools that enable genome-wide analysis of DNA sequence and structure, copy number, allelic loss, and epigenomic modification. Application of these techniques to elucidation of the nature and timing of these events is enriching our understanding of mechanisms that increase breast cancer susceptibility, enable tumor initiation and progression to metastatic disease, and determine therapeutic response or resistance. These studies also reveal the molecular differences between cancer and normal that ...
Date: June 18, 2009
Creator: Spellman, Paul T.; Heiser, Laura & Gray, Joe W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department