In what has been described as the largest study on the subject, researchers found that breast cancer is not a single disease, but rather an umbrella term for 10 unique diseases having different genetic fingerprints.
The study, conducted by scientists at the British Columbia Cancer Agency and University of British Columbia, arrived at the breakthrough finding after analyzing the DNA and RNA of 2,000 tumor samples taken from women diagnosed with breast cancer between five and ten years ago.
According to the researchers, the analysis revealed several completely new genes in the tumors that could offer the much-needed insight into breast cancer biology in regards to a tumor's response to a particular treatment, the extent of the tumor spread and its ability for recurrence.
Though the research is unlikely to benefit women who currently have breast cancer, the new finding of the landmark global study could be used by doctors to better tailor treatment to the individual patient in the future.
The study was published online April 18 in the journal Nature.
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in women. It is estimated that every year, approximately 1.3 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide.
by RTT Staff Writer
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