Our consortium aims at a better understanding of the molecular cues that underpin Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer (ILC). We want to use this knowledge to successfully translate it into improved diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of the disease.
ILC is a luminal breast cancer that mostly expresses oestrogen receptor (ER). ILC generally responds well to treatments targeting ER function. However, if these endocrine interventions cease to be successful, it is notoriously difficult to treat disseminated ILC.
In contrast to most breast cancers, it is clear that ILC development, progression and phenotypical presentation is a direct consequence of functional cell-cell adhesion loss though E-cadherin inactivation. It is this event that enables ILC cells to survive hostile environments and infiltrate foreign tissues as single cells that have a tendency to remain dormant for extensive time periods.
The diffuse ILC growth patterns hinder early detection, especially in women with dense breasts.
Large efforts in biomedical sciences and clinical research have yielded a wealth of data and insight into ILC development, diagnosis, and responses to treatment. This knowledge has culminated in the awareness that ILC is a specific cancer type that should be studied and treated as such. Accordingly, our goal is to use and extend the knowledge on ILC-specific biology and clinical features to develop tailored intervention trials that enable better treatment.
Needless to say, this is ambitious, but mostly challenging.
To better stream-line translation of discovery science to successful clinical implementation, we have joined key European biomedical and clinical scientists working on ILC to form a complementary and comprehensive lobular breast cancer team. We collaborate on the interphases of discovery science, translational research, pathology, bioinformatics, imaging, epidemiology and medical oncology.
The broad setup and complementarity of our initiative will provide an unprecedented focus and critical mass to boost biomedical knowledge and clinical intervention.
Importantly, we are aiming at closely collaborating with breast cancer organisations to establish a strong EU-based ILC advocacy movement that will join us to achieve our common goal: an improved understanding, diagnosis and treatment of ILC.