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Gene tied to breast cancer treatment outcomes identified

Kaiser Permanente researcher part of multidisciplinary team advancing precision cancer care


A large genetic analysis of breast cancer patients’ DNA has identified the first gene that predicts how a breast tumor will respond to certain types of systemic therapies.

The study, published in npj Breast Cancer, analyzed the DNA of 3,973 breast cancer patients enrolled in the Pathways Study, an ongoing study of breast cancer survivors who are members of Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

Lawrence H. Kushi, ScD, research scientist, Division of Research.

“The opportunity to examine genetic factors with detailed treatment information can result in new information that may have clinical implications,” said the study’s senior author Lawrence H. Kushi, ScD, a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research who leads the Pathways Study.

The new genetic marker provides information about treatment response to 2 types of systemic therapies: chemotherapy drugs called anthracyclines, which are used to treat many types of breast cancer, and HER2-targeted therapies, which are used to treat HER2-positive breast tumors.

The findings advance a field of research called pharmacogenomics that investigates how a person’s genes affect how they respond to specific medications. Researchers in this field hope doctors will be able to use what they learn to personalize medical treatments.

Read more about the research here

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