Novel epigenetic targets in breast cancer
One of the hallmarks of cancer is heterogeneity, the presence of subpopulations of cells with distinct morphological, phenotypic and genotypic profiles. Although this affects the efficacy of anti-cancer therapeutics, the underlying aetiology is poorly defined. The EU-funded EPICAN project focuses on the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway, a signal transduction system implicated in many essential cell functions as well as in oncogenesis. The working hypothesis is that PI3K oncogenic mutations reactivate multipotency in mammary cells, leading to tumour plasticity and heterogeneity. Identification of epigenetic regulators that function downstream of the PI3K pathway has the potential to lead to new therapeutic targets.