A new study published in the journal Nature Communications describes a breast cancer DNA "methylome," a new way of looking not just at the DNA sequence, but also how it may have been altered by epigenetics.
Epigenetics refers to inherited changes in genes that do not involve changes to the DNA sequence. This could imply a process known as "methylation" which occurs when a chemical group called a methyl is added to the DNA sequence at different sites. Epigenetic changes occur often, and can be influenced by different factors including age, the environment, nutrition, and diseases.
In this study, researchers identified specific methylation patterns in breast cancer cells taken via biopsy from triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients that indicated whether the cancer was more or less likely to worsen or respond to treatment.TNBC accounts for 15 to 20% of all breast cancers and lacks any one of three specific markers: receptors for estrogen, progesterone or HER2. Current treatments target these specific cellular receptors, so unfortunately th