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Newly linked genomic and pathologic features provide a singular biological framework

Researchers at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center have taken a major step forward in melding two key methods for studying breast cancer: one by genetic analysis and the second by looking at the architecture of cells, or their pathology. The investigators were able to link the two thanks to a decade-long effort made possible by the federally funded resource of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Breast Cancer Data set. The scientists found much agreement between genetic and pathologic classifications but developed a novel way to use data from both systems to arrive at a classification method that divides breast cancers into 12 distinct biological groups.

The findings appeared December 8, 2021, in Cell Genomics.

“We’ve known for a long time that breast cancer is not one disease, and now through years of molecular research, added to decades of pathology knowledge, we have begun to integrate the two into one language,” said Charles Perou, PhD, co-director of the UNC Lineberger Breast Cancer Research Program, the May Goldman Shaw Distinguished Professor of Molecular Oncology, and corresponding author of the research. “This should greatly aid future research efforts and enable faster translation of molecular findings into the pathology lab for clinical use.”

This article was originally published by UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Read full article here.