Breast cancer cells (by Annie Cavanagh via Flickr)

Using phylogenetic of microdissected samples of cancer and non-cancer proliferative lesions, Nishimura et al. explored the genetic evolution of breast cancer, revealing a unique evolutionary pattern harboring der(1;16), a common driver alteration in 20% of all breast cancers and one-third of Luminal A breast cancers. In der(1;16)(+) cancers, the derivative chromosome was acquired from early puberty to late adolescence, followed by the emergence of a common ancestor by the patient's early 30s, leading to both cancerous and non-cancerous clones. These clones expanded significantly within the premenopausal breast before cancer diagnosis. Interestingly, multiple cancer clones originated from noncancer ancestors and there was no correlation between histology and the number of driver events, suggesting the involvement of epigenetic or microenvironmental factors in cancer development. These findings contribute to a better understanding of breast carcinogenesis and may improve early detection and prevention strategies.


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