Scientists have created a ‘map’ linking the shape of breast cancer cells to genes turned on and off, and matched it to real disease outcomes, which could one day help doctors select treatments, according to a study published in Genome Research today (Wednesday).*
“The insights and approaches used in this research could one day lead to us being able to tell from appearance, how aggressive someone’s cancer is and how likely to spread, helping doctors decide the best course of treatment.” – Professor Karen Vousden
In a revolutionary new approach, Cancer Research UK-funded scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, used large sets of data to map out a network of links between cell shape and genes.**
By analysing cell shape in millions of images of more than 300,000 breast cancer cells, and data for more than 28,000 different genes, researchers found that cell shape changes, which can be caused by physical pressures on the tumour,*** are converted into changes in gene activity.
When they then used their maps to analyse thousands of samples taken from women who took part in the Cancer Research UK funded METABRIC study, the researchers discovered that these changes are linked to clinical outcomes for patients.****
They also identified key areas or ‘stations’ within the network that acted…