Researchers in the US have come one step closer to discovering why some cancer patients respond well to treatment for breast cancer and some do not.
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine have been looking at the protein P-Rex1 and have found that in 60 per cent of breast cancer cases, the protein is over-expressed.
Those patients whose tumours produced more of the protein are more likely to develop metastasis and so if this expression could be blocked by treatment, it could help reduce the chance of the cancer growing or spreading.
Professor of pharmacology at the school of medicine Dr Marcel Kazanietz said: "We identified a downstream target of the ErbB receptors which seems to be crucial for cancer cell proliferation, migration, and metastasis.
"Understanding how this pathway works should allow us to find new drugs or therapeutic approaches in the future."
The research is published in the December 22nd issue of Molecular Cell.
Support group Breast Cancer Care recently announced a discussion event looking at the link between breast cancer and low income. The forum will take place on January 27th.