Estrogen and an important gene known to stop cancer development (p53) are essential for normal breast growth. P53 can control estogen responses, and loss of this control is associated with poor outcome in breast cancer. Loss of p53 function by genetic fault occurs in far less breast cancers (-30%) than expected, given its essential role in stopping cancer. This suggests that its function becomes distrupted in other ways. Smaller forms of p53 have been discovered that can inhabit its function. We will investigate whether these small forms of p53 can inhibit the response of breast cancer to anti-estogens and other cancer therapies, in turn promoting resistance to treatment. This will provide new insights into how p53 loses its function in breast cancer, and may identify new targets for its treatment and prevention.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with 1 in 9 women diagnosed in their lifetime.