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Candidate genes found which may play a role in cancer progressing from non-invasive to invasive

gether, appear to be switched off in invasive tumours compared to non-invasive tumours. It is reasonable to assume from this that defects in these genes might make cells less sticky, which is probably necessary to becoming invasive. There are probably many defects involving processes such as cell adhesion, cell motility and so on that are required to make a normal breast cell become a malignant invasive cell. I expect these defects are acquired individually and accumulate over many years

He continued: The microarray experiments are only the first step to identifying candidate genes which may be important in invasion. Now we have to carry out further studies to discover whether they really are important or not. This will involve looking more closely at the proteins encoded by the genes, using clinical follow-up to see whether the genetic defects seen in the tumours are related to the outcome for the patient so that we know whether they are prognostic, and then testing whether the genes are actually responsible for suppressing or promoting tumour invasion.

A few other laboratories are looking at this problem using different technical approaches and even with this group effort we are at least a few years away from actually having something to translate directly to patient care. If we do find genes responsible for tumour invasion, and if we can develop treatments to correct or prevent defects in them, then we have the chance to prevent lethal invasive breast cancer.


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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@aol.com
44-7711-296-986
Federation of European Cancer Societies
21-Mar-2002


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