By collecting and studying genetic and molecular data from stored tumour samples from more than 110 patients with triple negative breast cancer treated at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust between 1979 and 2001, the team identified the biological function of these markers, discovering that each played a role in the invasiveness and aggressiveness of triple negative breast cancer tumours.
Led by Professor Andrew Tutt, Director of Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s Research Unit at King’s College London, the research, published in the journal BMC Genomics, forms part of a large comprehensive study of triple negative breast cancer patients.
Professor Andrew Tutt, Director of the Breakthrough Research Unit at King’s College London, says: ‘We are pleased to have been able to shed more light on this complex group of diseases that we so desperately need to understand better to improve the outlook for our patients.’
This new discovery means scientists now have a better understanding of what causes triple negative breast cancer to develop and spread so quickly. This will help develop targeted drugs which will tackle this hard-to-treat form of the disease as well as helping to predict which patients are most likely to go on to develop metastatic breast cancer.
Dr Matthew Lam, Research Officer at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, says: ‘Research into triple negative breast cancer is absolutely crucial and these ground-breaking findings give us more insight into what causes this aggressive subtype to be so difficult to treat and so much more likely to spread.
‘This knowledge will help us to develop more personalised treatments for triple negative breast cancer patients and ultimately save more lives.’
Notes to editors
Read the research paper in full
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