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University of Manchester Scientists Unravel Resistance to Breast Cancer Treatment  
11/1/2012 7:35:04 AM

Scientists have identified a molecular 'flag' in women with breast cancer who do not respond or have become resistant to the hormone drug tamoxifen. Tamoxifen – used alongside traditional chemotherapy and radiotherapy – blocks the female hormone oestrogen that, in certain breast cancers, is required by the tumour to grow; it has been shown to improve cancer survival rates by up to one third. However, about one third of patients with the appropriate type of breast cancer – known as oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer – do not respond to tamoxifen or develop resistance to the drug. Oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer is the most common form of the disease accounting for 70% of cases.