The first draft of the genetic code for breast and colon cancers identifies almost 200 mutated genes, now linked to these cancers, most of which were not previously recognized as associated with tumor initiation, growth, spread or control. The mutated genes in breast and colon cancers were almost completely distinct, suggesting very different pathways for the development of each of these cancer types.
“This gives us some understanding of why breast and colon cancers, and most likely other cancers as well, are very different diseases and develop through different processes. When we say this will drive cancer research for the next couple of decades, this is one of the reasons. Now researchers will study how these mutations occur in breast and colon cancers, perhaps searching for environmental agents or cellular processes that drive these changes.”
Scientists are expecting that these data will guide and provide support for future comprehensive genetic studies which could lead to successful detection and treatment strategies. Read more from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, or you may want to listen to a discussion of this research here (mp3).