Researchers identify epigenetic markers associated with breast cancer that metastasizes to the brain

Researchers have identified the epigenetic markers that determine whether breast cancer will spread to the brain, which could lead to earlier diagnoses and more effective treatment,suggests a study presented at ASCP, held in September in Chicago.

From Wayne State University and Detroit Medical Center, the investigators extracted micro RNA from the tumors of 90 women whose breast cancer, including 45 whose cancer had metastasized to the brain and 45 whose cancer had not. After analyzing the data, researchers found that several micro RNAs were significantly altered in patients whose breast cancer had spread to the brain. They also identified several target genes involved in the process.

The researchers believe these micro RNAs and their target genes could help identify which breast cancers eventually will metastasize to the brain when the cancer is first diagnosed and determine the course of therapy, including how aggressive treatment should be.