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Breast Cancer Progression Associated with Hypercoagulation and Chronic Inflammation

Project ended 30 June 2021

Dr Janette Bester

Dr Janette Bester

Title of the project

Breast Cancer progression associated with hypercoagulation and chronic inflammation.

Project Description

To date, cancer remains one of the leading causes of death around the world. Of interest in this study is breast cancer, which is characterised by uncontrolled tumour growth in breast tissue. The most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in women worldwide, breast cancer affects women from all ethnic backgrounds and cultures, although higher incidence rates do occur in more developed countries. Due to the nature of breast tissue and the integrated role of hormonal pathways and cell growth mechanisms, breast cancer is complex and difficult to treat. It is well documented that breast cancer results in a hypercoagulable state in affected patients, resulting from the increased inflammatory response responding to, or resulting from the presence of the cancer.

This hypercoagulable state affects many of the body’s systems, most notably, the haemostatic system. This system is especially sensitive to inflammation leading to hypercoagulation, thus it is not unexpected to note that thrombosis associated conditions are major complications in breast cancer patients. Notable changes in the vascular system under inflammatory and hypercoagulable conditions will be investigated which include changes to erythrocytes and the viscoelastic properties of the clotting mechanism of the body.

This study aims to investigate the effect of breast-cancer associated inflammation by examining these key characteristics of the vascular system, in order to obtain further insight into the changes, which occur within these patients. These insights may provide new opportunities for better monitoring of the progression of the disease as well as a better understanding of the role played by inflammation and hypercoagulation, possibly opening opportunities for improving the prognosis of the disease by removing thrombotic-related conditions as a major complication.

We have built a strong relationship with the clinicians that are involved in this project. This has inspired the clinicians to be more involved in research and to contribute to the growing evidence of vascular complications in this patient population. In the future, the aim is to build a strong network of researcher and clinician network to improve the quality and the relevance of our research. This project has led to the development of national as well as international collaboration. The success of this project will lead to a long-term collaboration between the parties.

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