Triple negative breast cancers (TNBCs) are highly aggressive and often strike young women. This disease is highly heterogeneous, characterized by profound genomic instability. These complex genetic alterations are thought to arise from the stepwise accumulation of mutational changes in favor of tumor progression. Despite genome wide association and recent genome sequencing studies, known breast cancer loci explain only one-third of the cancer risk, thus limiting the identification of many high risk individuals. It isthus imperative to identify additional breast cancer susceptibility genes and elucidate their mechanisms of action to develop comprehensive cancer risk assessment and targeted therapeutics. Our recent discovery that telomere dysfunction is present in a subset of TNBCs leads us to hypothesis that dysfunctional telomeres promote aberrant DNA repair, generating chromosomal fusions and pro-oncogenic genomic rearrangements permissive for breast cancer initiation and progression. We will test this hypothesis using novel mouse models of breast cancer and cutting edge genomic tools, including CRISPR/Cas9 mediated gene editing and RNA sequencing, to detect additional genetic changes needed to promote breast tumorigenesis.

Public Health Relevance

In this proposal, we will use mouse models to understand how telomere dysfunction and activation of aberrant DNA repair pathways promote genomic instability to generate triple negative breast cancers.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01CA202816-03
Application #
9379796
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
Program Officer
Witkin, Keren L
Project Start
2015-12-10
Project End
2020-11-30
Budget Start
2017-12-01
Budget End
2018-11-30
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2018
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Yale University
Department
Pathology
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
043207562
City
New Haven
State
CT
Country
United States
Zip Code
06520
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Chen, Cong; Gu, Peili; Wu, Jian et al. (2017) Structural insights into POT1-TPP1 interaction and POT1 C-terminal mutations in human cancer. Nat Commun 8:14929
Rai, Rekha; Chen, Yong; Lei, Ming et al. (2016) TRF2-RAP1 is required to protect telomeres from engaging in homologous recombination-mediated deletions and fusions. Nat Commun 7:10881
Wang, Yang; Wang, Xinwei; Flores, Elsa R et al. (2016) Dysfunctional telomeres induce p53-dependent and independent apoptosis to compromise cellular proliferation and inhibit tumor formation. Aging Cell 15:646-60