The latest discovery on triple-negative breast cancer and Hispanic women

Triple-negative breast cancer, one of the most deadly forms of breast cancer, disproportionately affects Hispanic women in the United States. Not only do Hispanic women have higher rates of triple-negative breast cancer, they also are diagnosed at earlier ages –as many as 11 years earlier than non-Hispanic white women– but in more advanced disease stages. SEE ALSO: Breastfeeding Mexican-American women at risk for triple-negative breast cancer The disparity goes deeper; among Hispanic subgroups, Mexican-American women are exposed to a unique set of risk factors. Studies suggest women of Mexican descent who breastfeed have a higher risk for triple-negative breast cancer compared to other women. Breastfeeding is typically associated with a lower breast cancer risk except in this particular scenario. Unfortunately, triple-negative breast cancer is notoriously difficult to treat because it does not respond to receptor-target treatments used in other breast cancer cases; triple-negative breast cancer is named such because the cancer growth does not involve estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, or human epidermal growth factor (HER2) receptors. Because of the deadly nature of triple-negative breast cancer it has been the topic for much research over the last few years. A number of potential breakthroughs have come about due to the scientific community’s focus, and the latest discovery may now offer a way to use gene therapy in triple-negative breast cancer cases. According to research published in the journal Nature Communications, Dr. Walid Khaled, of the Welcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge in the UK, and colleagues found a gene called BCL11A was overly active in triple-negative breast cancer. In fact, excessive activity of BCL11A was noted in 8 out of 10 aggressive breast cancer cases, suggesting it played an important role in triple-negative tumors. When BCL11A activity was decreased in laboratory mouse studies, certain cells lost their cancerous characteristics. “So by increasing BCL11A activity we increase cancer-like behavior; by reducing it, we reduce cancer-like behavior,” explained Dr. Khaled to MNT. SEE ALSO: New breakthrough for triple-negative breast cancer, Hispanic women to benefit? The finding may help researchers develop more therapies specifically for triple-negative breast cancer cases. At the moment, The National Breast Cancer Foundation notes the only effective treatment for triple-negative tumors is chemotherapy, and patients have little choice but to accept the side-effects that come with treatment. Genetic therapy may one day help identify and treat triple-negative breast cancer, offering more options for women with this diagnosis. For Hispanic women, more treatment options are indeed beneficial; however, timely medical screenings and routine physicals are still among the best options for catching breast cancer early.The post The latest discovery on triple-negative breast cancer and Hispanic women appeared first on Voxxi.

Triple-negative breast cancer disproportionately affects Hispanic women. (Shutterstock)

Triple-negative breast cancer, one of the most deadly forms of breast cancer, disproportionately affects Hispanic women in the United States.

Not only do Hispanic women have higher rates of triple-negative breast cancer, they also are diagnosed at earlier ages –as many as 11 years earlier than non-Hispanic white women– but in more advanced disease stages.

SEE ALSO: Breastfeeding Mexican-American women at risk for triple-negative breast cancer

The disparity goes deeper; among Hispanic subgroups, Mexican-American women are exposed to a unique set of risk factors. Studies suggest women of Mexican descent who breastfeed have a higher risk for triple-negative breast cancer compared to other women. Breastfeeding is typically associated with a lower breast cancer risk except in this particular scenario.

Unfortunately, triple-negative breast cancer is notoriously difficult to treat because it does not respond to receptor-target treatments used in other breast cancer cases; triple-negative breast cancer is named such because the cancer growth does not involve estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, or human epidermal growth factor (HER2) receptors.

Because of the deadly nature of triple-negative breast cancer it has been the topic for much research over the last few years. A number of potential breakthroughs have come about due to the scientific community’s focus, and the latest discovery may now offer a way to use gene therapy in triple-negative breast cancer cases.

According to research published in the journal Nature Communications, Dr. Walid Khaled, of the Welcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge in the UK, and colleagues found a gene called BCL11A was overly active in triple-negative breast cancer. In fact, excessive activity of BCL11A was noted in 8 out of 10 aggressive breast cancer cases, suggesting it played an important role in triple-negative tumors.

When BCL11A activity was decreased in laboratory mouse studies, certain cells lost their cancerous characteristics.

Genetic therapy is advancing
New genetic research has identified a gene that may be targeted in triple-negative tumor cases. (Shutterstock)

“So by increasing BCL11A activity we increase cancer-like behavior; by reducing it, we reduce cancer-like behavior,” explained Dr. Khaled to MNT.

SEE ALSO: New breakthrough for triple-negative breast cancer, Hispanic women to benefit?

The finding may help researchers develop more therapies specifically for triple-negative breast cancer cases. At the moment, The National Breast Cancer Foundation notes the only effective treatment for triple-negative tumors is chemotherapy, and patients have little choice but to accept the side-effects that come with treatment. Genetic therapy may one day help identify and treat triple-negative breast cancer, offering more options for women with this diagnosis.

For Hispanic women, more treatment options are indeed beneficial; however, timely medical screenings and routine physicals are still among the best options for catching breast cancer early.

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The post The latest discovery on triple-negative breast cancer and Hispanic women appeared first on Voxxi.

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