Dr Leonie Young

Along with an average of 1,726 new diagnosis each year, breast cancer is responsible for almost of 644 female deaths annually in Ireland. A recent study conducted by experts at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) reveals the discovery of a biomarker in patient blood which can predict the severity of breast cancer. The study may enable physicians to keep a track on the patients through the entire course of their treatment.

Almost 75 percent cases of breast cancer are believed to be encouraged by the hormone estrogen that boosts them to grow. Usually such patients can be treated with the drug tamoxifen, but many end up developing resistance to it. The authors explain that the risk of recurrence of the disease shared by breast cancer patients is very high.

Lead researcher, Dr Leonie Young, Leader of Surgical Research in RCSI added, “We hope this research will provide vital information about drug resistance to ensure that people with breast cancer are getting treatments that will benefit them”.

The biomarkers appear to help introduce a new development of personalized treatment programs for every patient. The investigators conducted a blood test which enabled them to explore and understand the protein changes in breast cancer that is resistant to treatment. Apart from discovering a higher level of a protein called HOXC11, they also noted the presence of a secreted molecule S100-beta.

The study authors suggest a novel blood test that may enable physicians to identify breast cancer which is likely to develop resistance to the drug. This will ensure that only those who will benefit from a particular treatment actually receive it.

The study is published in the Cancer Research reports.