Xiong and his colleagues specifically targeted the role that p18 plays in the development of luminal breast cancers. Using genetically-engineered mice with deletion of p18 genes, they created a highly reliable model of human breast cancers. The researchers tested their model by analyzing the gene in samples from approximately 300 human breast cancer patients, proving that the decreased expression of the p18 gene is highly correlated with the development of luminal tumors.
“The mechanism behind these tumors is quite different from that of other forms of breast cancer. Understanding this mechanism and having a good mouse model allows us to specifically test how treatments work against these tumors, which may then benefit human patients,” said Xiong.
The research was supported by the National Cancer Institute Breast SPORE program, the National Institutes of Health and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Study co-authors from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center include Xin-Hai Pei, Ph.D., research assistant professor; Feng Bai, M.D., Ph.D., research associate; Matthew D. Smith, research specialist; Jerry Usary, research associate; Cheng Fan, research associate; and Charles M. Perou, Ph.D., associate professor of genetics and pathology and laboratory medicine.
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