Breaking News
March 23, 2018 - Mom’s Pre-Pregnancy Waist Size Tied to Autism Risk
March 23, 2018 - AMD Treat-and-Extend Regimens OK: Ophthalmology Times
March 23, 2018 - Safe-sleep recommendations for infants have not reduced sudden deaths in newborns
March 23, 2018 - Survey finds inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics for hospitalized children
March 23, 2018 - Researchers propose alternative treatment to target lymphoma signaling at its root
March 22, 2018 - Compound found in beet extract could help slow progression of Alzheimer’s disease
March 22, 2018 - Lower temperatures can trigger the body’s ‘good’ fat formation at cellular level
March 22, 2018 - Sentinel lymph node biopsies could be safely avoided for some breast cancer patients
March 22, 2018 - Combined Preeclampsia Test Superior to U.K. Standards
March 22, 2018 - Exclusive breastfeeding in hospital associated with longer breastfeeding duration
March 22, 2018 - Researchers prove link between common childhood cancer and inflammation
March 22, 2018 - Targeting aberrantly active telomerase to treat therapy-resistant melanoma
March 22, 2018 - California’s tax on millionaires yields big benefits for people with mental illness, study finds
March 22, 2018 - Weight-loss surgery reduces risk for severe chronic kidney disease and kidney failure
March 22, 2018 - Study identifies two genes associated with extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancy
March 22, 2018 - Biohaven Enrolls First Patient In Phase 3 Clinical Trial To Evaluate Rimegepant Zydis® ODT In The Acute Treatment Of Migraine
March 22, 2018 - ‘Bionic Pancreas’ OK for Very Young T1D Patients
March 22, 2018 - Parkinson’s gene initiates disease outside of the brain
March 22, 2018 - NMSU researchers publish findings on effective measures to remedy stress among adolescents
March 22, 2018 - Immunotherapy combination increases overall survival in people with kidney cancer, study shows
March 22, 2018 - Gut microbiome may promote pancreatic cancer by inducing immune suppression
March 22, 2018 - New ocular inserts allow patient’s cornea to absorb more antibiotics
March 22, 2018 - FDA Alert: NeuroBlate Probe by Monteris Medical: Letter to Health Care Providers, Class I Recall
March 22, 2018 - Cessation of exercise can result in increased depressive symptoms
March 22, 2018 - Morning Break: Booze Study Brouhaha; Stem Cells for MS; Big Debt Problem
March 22, 2018 - New wearable tech from Western may hold big benefits for people with Parkinson’s
March 22, 2018 - Immune cells can repopulate in the retina after elimination, mice study shows
March 22, 2018 - States extend Medicaid for birth control, cutting costs — and future enrollment
March 22, 2018 - Research provides better understanding of how cancerous cells behave in low oxygen
March 22, 2018 - Menopausal hormone therapy taken soon after menopause may benefit the brain
March 22, 2018 - Booze Boosts Your Heart Rate
March 22, 2018 - Skeptical Cardiologist: Classifying Heart Failure
March 22, 2018 - Instead of nagging your spouse to lose weight, try going on a diet yourself
March 22, 2018 - Neem Biotech to share findings on cystic fibrosis biofilm disruption at ECFS Basic Science Conference
March 22, 2018 - Study uncovers new genetic cause of posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy
March 22, 2018 - ENDO: Big Breakfast May Help in Diabetics
March 22, 2018 - I’m not overweight, so why do I need to eat healthy foods?
March 22, 2018 - UCLA-led study suggests unexpected reason for reduction in cardiovascular health disparities
March 22, 2018 - Study suggests detailed neuropsychological assessment for brief cardiac arrest survivors
March 22, 2018 - Anticoagulant drugs found safe to use in patients undergoing surgery for irregular heartbeat
March 22, 2018 - SP Industries appoints Brian Larkin as new President and CEO
March 22, 2018 - GTx Announced New Data Demonstrating Enobosarm’s Potential to Treat Stress Urinary Incontinence
March 22, 2018 - Higher Risk of Brain Deficits in Older Alcoholics
March 22, 2018 - Top US health official resigns in conflict of interest
March 22, 2018 - Study shows benefits of hair loss drug in improving cognitive function and vascular health
March 22, 2018 - Researchers explain link between 2 key Alzheimer’s proteins
March 22, 2018 - Patients on replacement therapy with thyroid hormone may have more comorbidities
March 22, 2018 - Higher online patient ratings linked to urologists who saw fewer Medicare patients
March 22, 2018 - FDA Approves Ilumya (tildrakizumab-asmn) for the Treatment of Moderate-to-Severe Plaque Psoriasis
March 22, 2018 - Beer Raises Heart Rate; KardiaBand Hyperkalemia Test; CHD Clinics
March 22, 2018 - A retinal implant that is more effective against blindness
March 22, 2018 - New system based on artificial intelligence provides reliable detection of breast cancer
March 22, 2018 - Research offers new understanding about cause of Parkinson’s disease
March 22, 2018 - HORIBA’s Microsemi CRP analyzer improves quality of care in emergency pediatric units, study shows
March 22, 2018 - Neuroscientists move closer to developing tools for deciphering brain function
March 22, 2018 - New test methods with less fear
March 22, 2018 - Range of Vaginal Dryness Products Can Help Postmenopausal Women: Study
March 22, 2018 - Higher Dose Tx Deemed Safe in Pulmonary TB
March 22, 2018 - Discovery of new ALS gene points to cytoskeleton as potential target for drug development
March 22, 2018 - Diet soda associated with higher odds of diabetic retinopathy
March 22, 2018 - LSD reduces ‘sense of self’
March 22, 2018 - Vitamin D deficiency linked to metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women
March 22, 2018 - Changes in the intestines may be responsible for reversal of diabetes after bariatric surgery
March 22, 2018 - iPads and Cancer; Clot Retrieval and Stroke: It’s PodMed Double T!
March 22, 2018 - Premature births linked to changes in mother’s bacteria
March 22, 2018 - Brain SPECT scans predict treatment outcomes in patients with depression
March 21, 2018 - Researchers succeed in integrating artificial organelles into cells of living organism
March 21, 2018 - Researchers discover ‘missing mutation’ in severe infant epilepsy
March 21, 2018 - Researchers develop statistics-based computational scheme to zoom in on brain function
March 21, 2018 - Verge joins Genomics England’s Discovery Forum industry partnership
March 21, 2018 - Trovagene Announces First Patient Successfully Completes Cycle 1 of Treatment with PCM-075 in Combination with Low Dose Cytarabine (LDAC) in AML Trial
March 21, 2018 - Congenital Cardiac Cath Tx Often Strays from Guidelines
March 21, 2018 - Marked increase in cardiovascular risk factors in women after preeclampsia
March 21, 2018 - New app may help predict, track manic and depressive episodes in bipolar patients
March 21, 2018 - Discovery of genes could lead to development of novel therapies for EBV-related cancers
March 21, 2018 - High-fat, high-cholesterol diet depletes ranks of artery-protecting immune cells
March 21, 2018 - Research misconduct allegations shadow likely CDC appointee
March 21, 2018 - Most Breast Ca Patients Fail to Get Genetic Counseling
March 21, 2018 - Lopsided ear function can lead to lopsided brain development
March 21, 2018 - Acupuncture helps manage menopausal symptoms, review finds
Oncologists find new biomarker for breast cancer having poor prognosis

Oncologists find new biomarker for breast cancer having poor prognosis

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print


With the support of the FWF, an oncologist found a biomarker for breast cancer having a poor prognosis and developed two viable methods to detect it in tissue samples.

Breast cancer is the most frequent malignant tumor in women worldwide. In Austria, about 5,500 women develop it each year and 1,500 die of it despite the availability of an early detection program. When a lump is found in a breast, the next step in clinical practice is a biopsy. Although no remedy exists for the anxious hours faced by the affected women, quick diagnostic procedures and competent information about the results are very helpful. The tissue sample taken is most important for diagnosis and treatment. If the tumor is found to be malignant, the subtype is determined immediately, since, depending on the result, different treatment methods are chosen. “After consultation by the interdisciplinary tumor board, the doctors discuss available treatment options with the patient and also talk about prognosis (chance to be cured), if the patient asks for it”, explains oncologist Thomas Bauernhofer from the University Hospital Graz.

In this context, the oncologist investigated a new biomarker in a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. This biomarker indicates a poorer prognosis for breast cancer patients. In a five-year research effort in close collaboration with the Institutes for  Biophysics and Pathology , the physician managed to produce evidence: a higher expression of the GIRK1 protein shows a greater relapse rate and mortality among patients with the hormone-dependent (ER+) breast cancer subtype after surgery.


The GIRK1 protein is one of at least two required elements for building functioning potassium ion channels in the cell membrane. Such ion channels are indispensable in the human heart, brain or pancreas and, for instance, ensure that the heart beats regularly. A scientific publication with a small number of cases that found GIRK1 in breast cancer inspired the research team to study this protein as a potential new biomarker. At first, a large quantity of messenger RNA (mRNA), a precursor in the production of the GIRK1 protein, was detected in breast cancer cell lines and tissue. By correlating tissue samples and genetic profiles of breast tumors with women’s survival statistics, it is now possible to identify patients at special risk. “Breast cancer patients with an estrogen-receptive positive tumor (ER+) usually respond well to anti-hormonal treatment. But in case the ER+ tumor express a great amount of GIRK1, such patients have a lower probability of survival”, explains Thomas Bauernhofer. The ER+ tumor subtype is found in about 60% of all breast cancer patients.

Within the FWF project, two methods were developed to detect excessive GIRK1 expression in tissue sections. The team spent many months looking for an appropriate staining method by means of immunohistochemistry. Having thus been established successfully, the new method is of benefit for researchers investigating the GIRK ion channel in other contexts. The second detection method (fluorescence in-situ hybridization) even enables scientists to determine the expression of GIRK1-mRNA in tumor tissue by means of automatic image analysis.


In a gene cluster examination, the team from Graz also proved that apart from the GIRK1 gene, three further genes are very active in a tumor. “Two genes are associated with an estrogen receptor (ER alpha), a third one with the angiotensin II receptor”, reports Thomas Bauernhofer. The higher mortality among women with an estrogen-receptor positive tumor and high GIRK1 expression could be attributed to a diminished effect of antihormonal therapy or an increased ability to form metastases. GIRK1, however, could also become a new target for treatment. Thomas Bauernhofer now wants to gain a more exact idea of the interdependencies: “It is still too early for verifying the biomarker in every biopsy. Our results do not have therapeutic consequences for the time being, but we need to further investigate the relationship between GIRK1 and poor survival rates.”


Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles