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Scientists identify gene that worsens breast cancer

S'pore team hopes to team up with drug firms to develop targeted treatment

Published on Jul 27, 2013 9:00 AM
 
Scientists in Singapore have identified a gene which makes an aggressive form of breast cancer even worse, in a development which could lead to more effective drugs to treat it. -- ST FILE PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

Scientists in Singapore have identified a gene which makes an aggressive form of breast cancer even worse, in a development which could lead to more effective drugs to treat it.

Patients with triple negative breast cancer, whose tumours have high levels of a gene called UBASH3B, are likely to have earlier relapses within three years of treatment.

Scientists at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research's Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) also said these patients' cancer is more virulent and spreads faster in the body.

Triple negative breast cancer gets its name because its tumours lack estrogen, progesterone and HER2, which are common in other types of cancer.

 
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Background story

Triple negative breast cancer affects 15 per cent to 20 per cent of patients with breast cancer - the most common cancer among women here, making up three in 10 cancer diagnoses.