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What is breast cancer?
This cancer starts in the tissues of the breast. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second cause of cancer deaths in women. In 2010, 207,090 women were estimated to have been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the United States and approximately 40,000 women were estimated to have died of their disease.1 Men can also have breast cancer, although male breast cancer is rare. In 2010, 1,970 American men were estimated to have been diagnosed and 390 were estimated to have died of breast cancer.1 Due to early detection through use of mammograms and improvements in treatment, breast cancer deaths have steadily decreased since the 1990s. View additional information on breast cancer.
The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) program will focus mostly on two types of invasive breast cancer: ductal carcinoma and lobular carcinoma. Invasive ductal carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer. It comprises about 65 to 85 percent of all breast cancer and develops in the milk ducts of the breast. About 10 percent of all cases of advanced breast cancer2 are invasive lobular breast carcinoma. This cancer develops in the breast milk-producing lobules or glands.
What have The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) researchers learned about breast cancer?
TCGA researchers have:
- Described new integrated insights into the four standard molecular subtypes of breast cancer: HER2-enriched, Luminal A, Luminal B, and Basal-like
- Also, identified mutated genes that are specific to each subtype
- Found that the Basal-like subtype shares many genetic features with high-grade serous ovarian cancer suggesting that the cancers have a common molecular origin and may share therapeutic opportunities
- Performed computational analyses that suggest that Basal-like breast cancer and serous ovarian cancer might both be susceptible to two types of cancer treatment
- A drug that inhibits blood vessel growth, cutting off the blood supply to the tumor
- Bioreductive drugs, which are inactive drugs that become toxic to cancer cells under low oxygen conditions
Where can I find more information about the TCGA Research Network’s studies or studies using TCGA data?
Where can I find clinical trials to treat breast cancer that are supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI)?
View a list of NCI-supported breast ductal carcinoma clinical trials or breast lobular carcinoma clinical trials that are now accepting patients.
1American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts and Figures 2010. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society, 2010. Statistics for invasive breast cancer estimated new cases and deaths.
2Wood WC, Muss HB, Solin LJ, Olopade OL: Malignant Tumors of the Breast In: DeVita VT Jr, Hellman S, Rosenberg SA, eds.: Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005, pp 1420.