New Mouse Model May Help Identify Ways to Treat Metaplastic Breast Cancer

New Mouse Model May Help Identify Ways to Treat Metaplastic Breast Cancer
Metaplastic breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer, but researchers have long lacked models that would help them determine the molecular alterations underlying the disease and identify potential treatments. Now they have developed a novel mouse model that lacks the CCN6 protein in mammary glands and that develops tumors resembling human metaplastic breast cancer. The model shares several deregulated genes that could be used to develop therapies against the cancer. The study, "MMTV-cre;Ccn6 knockout mice develop tumors recapitulating human metaplastic breast carcinomas," was published in Oncogene. Metaplastic breast cancer is a rare and aggressive subtype of triple-negative breast cancer. Up to 20 percent of all breast cancers are triple-negative, but only 1 percent are metaplastic. "Metaplastic breast cancers are challenging to diagnose and treat," Celina Kleer, MD, of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, said in a press release. "In part, the difficulties stem from the lack of mouse models to study this disease," said Kleer, the university's Harold A. Oberman Collegiate Professor of Pathology and director of the cancer center's Breast Pathology Program. Kleer has been studying how CCN6 affects breast cancer for more than a decade. The protein is reduced in metaplastic breast cancers. Studies have shown that decreasing CCN6 levels in healthy breast cells prompts them to transf
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