Predictive Genetic Markers Associated with Breast Cancer Neuropathy Identified

“Researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) have identified common inherited gene alterations that appear to make some patients more at risk of neurotoxicity when treated for breast cancer. The research was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2015, being held April 18-22 in Philadelphia.

“Taxane-related neuropathy, or nerve damage to the peripheral nervous system, cannot be predicted, prevented or effectively treated. A substantial number of breast cancer patients continue to experience severe neuropathy with symptoms lasting long after treatment.

“ ‘Identifying these predictive markers could give clinicians essential information about a patient’s likelihood of developing severe side effects before therapy even starts, thereby potentially increasing the quality of life for breast cancer survivors,’ says the study’s first author, Lara Sucheston-Campbell, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncology in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences at Roswell Park.

“In an effort to find genomic markers that will provide clinicians with clues as to who might develop this often debilitating side effect, Sucheston-Campbell and colleagues analyzed the genomes of 1,269 European Americans and 139 African-Americans enrolled in a cooperative clinical trial (SWOG 221). Participants reported varying levels of neuropathy during and after treatment. Results showed significant associations between severe neuropathy in European American women and variants on chromosomes 7, 10, 16 and 17. The marker on chromosome 7 reduced the odds of neuropathy for both European Americans and African-Americans, and showed the same protective effect in another cooperative-group clinical trial of breast cancer patients treated with taxanes.”