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Researchers identify new gene associated with breast cancer

Toronto, Canada Researchers have identified a new gene, C35, that appears to be closely associated with breast cancer. Of the breast cancer tissues tested, more than sixty percent over-expressed the C35 gene, according data published in the Proceedings for the 94th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The study also found that the C35 gene was only over-expressed in breast cancer cells, and is not evident in any normal tissues in women.

"While large scale clinical studies have not yet been completed to confirm the prevalence of C35 in breast cancer patients, we are excited about these results and hope that C35 may eventually become a target of therapy and predictor of prognosis in breast cancer," said Deepak M. Sahasrabudhe, M.D., director of the Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program and Professor of Medicine and Oncology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York.

The study, a collaboration between the University of Rochester and Vaccinex, Inc., found that the C35 gene is located on chromosome 17 adjacent to the oncogene that encodes HER2/neu (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2). Development of therapy targeting HER2/neu has been a major advance for breast cancer patients.

The study showed that the protein encoded by the C35 gene was over-expressed in 65 percent of the breast cancers. Researchers compared it with HER2/neu, which is expressed in approximately 30 percent of breast cancers, and is associated with a more virulent form of breast cancer. In breast cancer, the grade of the tumor refers to the degree of malignancy or differentiation of tumor tissue, e.g., well, moderately well, or poorly differentiated, and undifferentiated or anaplastic. Prognosis of patients with higher grade (grades II/III) cancers is worse. In grade II/III tumors, 34 percent tested positive for both C35 and HER2/neu and 31 percent were positive for C35 and negative for HER2/neu. All cells
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Contact: Aimee Frank
202-955-6222
American Association for Cancer Research
8-Apr-2003


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