"Methylome" Could Distinguish Aggressive Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

The study identified distinct methylation patterns between the aggressive and benign forms of TNBC, which could provide an improved understanding of disease outcome.

The new study, published in Nature Communications, compares the breast cancer DNA "methylome" with that of healthy individuals. The methylome provides a new picture of the genome and shows how it is epigenetically 'decorated' with methyl groups, a process known as DNA "methylation."

The study reveals "distinct methylation patterns" in the primary biopsy breast cancer cells indicating better or worse prognosis.

Triple-negative breast cancers, which make up 15%-20% of all breast cancers, lack any of the 3 receptors (oestrogen, progesterone or HER2) that would make them responsive to targeted drugs. Overall, patients have a higher risk of disease recurrence and shorter survival than those with other breast cancers.

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