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The Breast Cancer Society of Canada

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Why do some early breast cancers progress to deadly cancer and others do not?

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milica krstic

Milica Krstic in the TBCRU Lab

Hi! My name is Milica Krstic. I’m a PhD student in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Western University. I work at London Regional Cancer Program under the supervision of Ann Chambers, PhD, and Alan Tuck, MD/PhD.

I’m studying a protein called TBX3 and its role in early stages of breast cancer. It has been shown that TBX3 levels are higher in several types of cancer, but its role in breast cancer progression is not yet understood.

I’ve shown that elevating TBX3 levels in early breast cancer cells causes them to become more aggressive in cell lines and animal models. Women with early breast cancers (termed DCIS or ductal carcinoma in situ) have a 10-times-higher risk for developing invasive cancer than woman without DCIS history. However, why some lesions progress and others don’t is not yet understood.

I’ve studied expression of this protein in 200 breast cancer patient samples to see if TBX3 levels predict for whether these tumours will progress. I’m also studying the mechanism by which TBX3 promotes cancer progression.

Understanding this mechanism may lead to new treatment targets to inhibit TBX3 signaling pathways for breast cancer therapy, with the aim of stopping early breast cancers from progressing to deadly cancers.

Thank you to BCSC for your trainee support!
Milica Krstic
Pamela Greenaway-Kohlmeier Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit, London Health Sciences Centre

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