Exploring circulating micro-rna in the neoadjuvant treatment of breast cancer
Sweeney, Karl J.
Brown, James Andrew Lawrence
Kerin, Michael J.
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Casey, Máire-Caitlín; Sweeney, Karl J. Brown, James Andrew Lawrence; Kerin, Michael J. (2016). Exploring circulating micro-rna in the neoadjuvant treatment of breast cancer. International Journal of Cancer 139 (1), 12-22
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed malignancy amongst females worldwide. In recent years the management of this disease has transformed considerably, including the administration of chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant setting. Aside from increasing rates of breast conserving surgery and enabling surgery via tumour burden reduction, use of chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant setting allows monitoring of in vivo tumour response to chemotherapeutics. Currently, there is no effective means of identifying chemotherapeutic responders from non-responders. Whilst some patients achieve complete pathological response (pCR) to chemotherapy, a good prognostic index, a proportion of patients derive little or no benefit, being exposed to the deleterious effects of systemic treatment without any knowledge of whether they will receive benefit. The identification of predictive and prognostic biomarkers could confer multiple benefits in this setting, specifically the individualization of breast cancer management and more effective administration of chemotherapeutics. In addition, biomarkers could potentially expedite the identification of novel chemotherapeutic agents or increase their efficacy. Micro-RNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA molecules. With their tissue-specific expression, correlation with clinicopathological prognostic indices and known dysregulation in breast cancer, miRNAs have quickly become an important avenue in the search for novel breast cancer biomarkers. We provide a brief history of breast cancer chemotherapeutics and explore the emerging field of circulating (blood-borne) miRNAs as breast cancer biomarkers for the neoadjuvant treatment of breast cancer. Established molecular markers of breast cancer are outlined, while the potential role of circulating miRNAs as chemotherapeutic response predictors, prognosticators or potential therapeutic targets is discussed.