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Molecular determinants of post-mastectomy breast cancer recurrenceWomen with breast cancer who relapse following surgery frequently harbor genomic alterations in a pathway linked to cell proliferation and anti-tumor immune responses. A USA-based team led by Funda Meric-Bernstam from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and Kimberly Keene from the University of Alabama at Birmingham conducted a thorough molecular analysis of tumor samples obtained from 115 women with 5 years of follow-up after a mastectomy and, oftentimes, adjuvant chemotherapy or hormonal therapy. RNA profiles did not significantly differ between women who experienced local recurrence, developed distant metastases or were still in remission. However, DNA analyses identified significantly more mutations in patients whom recurred in the mitogen-activated protein kinase cell signaling pathway, specifically NF1, implicated in cell growth and immunity. If validated, the findings support targeting this pathway to prevent disease recurrence.
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