Could methylation change breast cancer treatment?

12 July 2012

Medical professionals could soon have a better means of treating breast cancer, through the development of a molecular 'post-it note'.

Cancer Research UK scientists based at Imperial College London have shown that when the element is added to a breast cancer gene, it can help to flag up the risk of the disease spreading around the body.

In order to identify this procedure, the researchers first detailed how high levels of a molecular modification called methylation are linked to the spread of breast cancer when coming into contact with a gene entitled CACNA2D3.

Dr Carlo Palmieri, the study's lead author, commented: "Our research suggests that methyl groups can muffle the messages given by the CACNA2D3 gene - blocking its potential protective effect against breast cancer."

He added that the next step will be to carry out larger studies in order to determine whether methylation could be the key to more advanced breast cancer treatment.

Recently, a separate study led by Nicholas Eriksson, principal scientist at the direct-to-consumer personal genomics company 23andMe, has suggested that women with larger breasts are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)