According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. Some breast cancers are caused by mutations in one or both of the genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. However, the vast majority of breast cancers occur in women with no family history of the disease.
Experts at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center say that researchers are using advanced molecular techniques to identify many of the genetic defects and biological processes that prompt some breast cancer cells to form tumors and metastasize (spread). Larry Norton, Deputy Physician-in-Chief for Breast Cancer Programs, says this knowledge has the potential to transform the way breast tumors are diagnosed, classified, and treated.