Unexpected results lead to new breast cancer research direction

April 13, 2016

Dr. Luc Sabourin and his team recently found some unexpected results while studying a protein called periostin. Previous studies suggested this protein had a role in supporting tumour progression in a breast cancer model, so Dr. Sabourin and his team thought that if they removed this protein from their animal models, breast cancer growth would be suppressed. However, their study published in Breast Cancer Research shows that the absence of the protein did not slow down tumour growth. Instead it changed the nature of the cancer, into a potentially more aggressive form of the HER2-positive subtype. This subtype tends to grow faster and is more likely to spread, but Dr. Sabourin and his team are not sure if it will behave the same way in their animal model. They are currently performing follow-up studies on the effect of this change of subtype and why periostin causes it.

Authors: R. Sriram, V. Lo, B. Pryce, L. Antonova, A.J. Mears, M. Daneshmand, B. McKay, S.J. Conway, W.J. Muller.

Funders: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the Cancer Research Society and the Canadian Institute of Health Research, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

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