Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer type in females worldwide. Despite numerous advances made in the field, BC remains the most common cancer among women, accounting for the highest number of cancer-related mortalities in women. The molecular mechanisms involved in BC pathogenesis have been thoroughly studied, leading to BC classification into three major subtypes. Among those, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) represents 15% to 20% of invasive breast cancers and is characterized by the lack of expression of estrogen receptors (ER), progesterone receptors (PR), and lack of amplification of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). TNBC has been shown to particularly affect women younger in age, and tumors tend to be larger in size, with higher metastasis, relapse frequencies, poorer prognosis, and relatively worse outcome in patients. With the lack of available known targets in TNBC, patients generally do not benefit from endocrine therapy; therefore, surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy remain the primary mode of treatment. Cumulative evidence suggests added benefit for neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) in a subset of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients, however, the exact molecular signature predictive of response to NAC remains to be elucidated.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been identified in recent years to be important players in multiple biological systems, mainly through gene regulation. Differential expression of some miRNAs and lncRNAs have been associated with several types of disease, including cancer. The team’s recent work has identified the lncRNA transcriptional landscape and classified BC into different molecular subtypes, employing lncRNA transcriptome data. The current focus of this research group is to better understand TNBC at the molecular and cellular levels and to identify novel diagnostics and prognostic biomarkers associated with TNBC resistance to cancer chemotherapy, with main emphasis on microRNA (miRNA) and lncRNA employing CRISPR-Cas9 and other state-of-the-art technologies.