Are there genetic risk factors for metastatic breast cancer?
In April 2008, an article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal discussed a gene called Bromodomain 4 (Brd4) as a risk factor for metastatic breast cancer. The protein product of the Brd4 gene is involved in regulating cell division and replication of DNA. This study which was done in mice showed that defects in Brd4 activity results in increased risk for breast cancer metastasis. Additional research is needed to determine how defects in Brd4 play a part in the development of human metastatic breast cancer. Just last week (October 8th 2009), a landmark study was published on the cover of Nature magazine in which the Canadian scientists had monitored changes to the DNA sequence of a primary breast cancer tumor as it evolved over a time period of 9 years into a metastatic breast cancer. They found 32 different genetic mutations in the metastatic tumor but only 5 of these mutations were present in the primary tumor. These findings indicate that 27 mut