Breast Cancer Cells Precisely Mapped; Study Notes Potential for Individualized Treatment

Breast Cancer Cells Precisely Mapped; Study Notes Potential for Individualized Treatment
Researchers have mapped, at the single-cell level, the diverse types and arrangements of cells within breast cancer tumors, revealing how genetic changes shape the complex tumor landscape. The findings could give doctors valuable, detailed information on each patient's tumor, allowing them to match patients to specific, tailored treatments.  The study, “Imaging mass cytometry and multiplatform genomics define the phenogenomic landscape of breast cancer,” was published in the journal Nature Cancer.  There is a wide variety of breast cancer tumor types, and efforts to understand the variation (heterogeneity) have identified subtypes of tumors associated with specific genomic abnormalities and clinical outcomes.  Most of the work does not account for the complexity of solid tumors, which are composed of a mixture of cancer cells and non-cancer cells in distinct arrangements and in different stages of growth. Genetic alterations in cancer cells most likely drive these complex arrangements of so-called multicellular tumor ecosystems. To better understand how genetic changes shape these tumor ecosystems, researchers at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, used a combination of single-cell analysis and genomic data to map these complex interactions. The team used a technique known as imaging mass cytometry to study the composition and spatial arrangement of single cells in breast cancer tumors. This was achieved by examining the distribution of 37 protein markers — each identifying a specific cell type or behavior — across 483 tumors from patients who had been diagnosed with breast cancer between 1985 and 2005. Tumor samples were collected as part of the METABRIC st
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