5 new subtypes of breast tumours
A vast study into gynaecological and breast cancers has uncovered some remarkable findings. Among the discoveries made by scientists from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in the US were previously unknown molecular features of tumours and five new subtypes of cancer.
The comprehensive analysis was undertaken on 2,579 tumours from four types of gynaecological cancer and breast cancer. It is part of the Pan-Cancer Atlas, which aims to answer pressing questions about cancer and could pave the way for therapeutic studies in the future. Rehan Akbani, associate professor of Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, said:
"Our aims were to identify shared and unique molecular features, clinically significant subtypes and potential therapeutic targets. "We confirmed similarities previously identified in the five breast and gynecologic tumour types and discovered intriguing molecular relationships not observed in previous studies of these diseases. “A number of the observations have possible prognostic and/or therapeutic relevance, although any clinical possibilities illuminated by this study would require extensive additional research before they would be ready for practical application."
Among the most significant findings in the study were 16 key molecular features that led to identifying five prognostic cancer subtypes in turn. The scientists then developed a decision tree that allowed them to classify patients into one of these subtypes, based on six features.
The subtypes that have been found to have high leucocyte counts could be used for immunotherapy treatment going forwards. Researchers into female cancers are likely to use the results of the study to build upon and gain a greater understanding of the science behind them. John Weinstein, chair of Bioinformatics & Computational Biology and a member of the research team, added:
"The study complements other integrative TCGA [The Cancer Genome Atlas] Pan-Cancer Atlas projects that have painted molecular portraits of about 11,000 patient tumours in 33 cancer types."