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Breast Center - Fuqua Lab

Houston, Texas

A BCM research lab.
Fuqua Lab - Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center
not shown on screen

Suzanne Fuqua Lab

Fuqua Lab Interests

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among American women, and thus has been identified as a public health priority in the United States. The lifetime risk of developing breast cancer today is one in every eight women.

Dr. Suzanne A.W. Fuqua’s laboratory is examining the role of estrogen receptors alpha and beta, and the progesterone receptor A and B isoforms in hormone responsiveness and breast cancer metastasis using clinical material, breast cancer cell lines, and transgenic mouse model systems. She was the first to identify mutant forms of estrogen receptor alpha in premalignant breast hyperplasias and invasive breast cancer and one of these mutations is thought to be important in the response of patients to treatment, and the development of breast cancer metastases. See more information in the full report.

Slide images of H&E and ERaIHC

Her research strategy continues to be aimed at utilizing patient material for her studies, working to focus clinical questions back to the basic laboratory bench. She has recently completed two large retrospective studies demonstrating that:

  1. Low levels estrogen receptor β are associated with resistance to tamoxifen therapy in axillary lymph node-positive patients.
  2. Progesterone receptor-positive patients with high levels of the A isoform are also resistant to hormonal therapies. View the full report. These clinical studies are the first to identify these receptors as predictive markers in large, multivariate analyses.

She is also elucidating the complex molecular alterations and mechanisms resulting in acquired resistance to different hormonal therapies, such as tamoxifen and the aromatase inhibitors, by utilizing genomics-based methodologies, such as microarray expression analyses. Recently, she has also established the use of the microarray expression technology in the Breast Center Affymetrix Core to study the prognosis of breast cancer patients. She was recently funded by the Department of Defense, which resulted from her work with microarray expression profiling. The main goal of her laboratory remains to understand the central role of the estrogen receptor and its associated secondary signaling cascades in the progression of breast cancer patients, and the identification of novel markers of disease outcome.

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