Pink October: Better understanding the development of breast cancer in patients

Like every year, the month of October is dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer screening and raising funds for research. With more than 54,000 new cases each year in France, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in women. A better understanding of the development of the disease in patients is a major challenge for Inserm research, to improve diagnosis and optimize the treatment process. Two recent publications have addressed this issue.

An algorithm to predict severe fatigue at the time of diagnosis of breast cancer

More than a third of women treated for breast cancer report severe fatigue several years after diagnosis. By exploring data from the CANTO cohort, a large cohort of women with localized breast cancer (stage 1 to 3), physician-researchers from Gustave Roussy and Inserm have developed a predictive algorithm for severe fatigue that calculates the risk score at the time of diagnosis.

This is an essential personalized prevention tool for early orientation towards targeted management strategies.

The results of their study were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO).

A better understanding of cancer cell dissemination

In a publication in the journal Cell, researchers from Inserm, CNRS, and the Institut Curie have identified one of the mechanisms at work in the dissemination of breast tumor cells.

When cells multiply and migrate, they can be compressed and their nuclei can break. This causes damage to their DNA, which facilitates the spread of cancer cells. Indeed, the compression allows the DNA to come into contact with a destructive enzyme called TREX1. The function of this enzyme is normally to protect the cell by destroying the DNA of viruses that might try to infect it, but under these unusual conditions, it attacks the cell’s DNA.

Scientists now want to identify and test molecules that could block the activity of this enzyme.