Scientists have made a breakthrough finding which may help them to develop more effective treatments for hormone-responsive breast cancers.
Researchers from the University of Iowa and the University of Pennsylvania have identified a gene called TFAP2C that plays a crucial role in oestrogen signalling.
They found that silencing expression of TFAP2C in hormone-responsive breast cancer cells significantly decreased the amount of ER-alpha, which causes cancer growth.
"Targeting this gene may be a better way to develop drugs to treat hormone-responsive breast cancers because it targets multiple different pathways," said lead author Dr Ronald Weigel.
He added: "This study is one example of how we are moving forward in unlocking the mysteries behind what controls the ability of a breast cancer to respond to oestrogen."
Oestrogen interacts with oestrogen receptors made by cancer cells, causing the cells to multiply.
The full results can be viewed in the September 15th issue of Cancer Research.