Breast carcinoma is the most common cancer in women. Denmark has the second highest and increasing age-standardized incidence of breast cancer in the world with 105 cases per 100,000 women. Currently, performed at diagnosis pathological examination of breast tumor tissues identifies a variety of prognostic and predictive factors. However, breast cancer patients with apparently similar clinical and pathological features often have a widely varying disease course. This emphasizes the urgent need to develop novel tests that can be used to improve the treatment by better patient selection for personalized therapy.
Various environmental and lifestyle factors (e.g. smoking or use of exercise) induce epigenetic changes to the cells’ genetic material. Current research clearly shows that on the one hand those changes can contribute to disease development but at the same time can be used as targets for diagnostic tests. Those tests can potentially enable disease predisposition screening as well as early diagnosis and design of patient specific treatment. However, the use of epigenetic changes to facilitate disease diagnosis and guide treatment is still marginal.
As an AIAS fellow and in collaboration with leading internationally recognized experts in breast cancer, we aim to investigate the involvement of the epigenetic changes in breast cancer development. As well as identify and clinically validate a number of tests that can potentially be used in clinical breast cancer management.