As a complex disease with heterogeneous factors involved, breast cancer have various subtypes with distinct therapeutic response patterns and outcomes (Yersal and Barutca, 2014). Conventional classification systems of breast cancer have limitations in describing such features. In order to achieve individualized and patient-centered interventions, new strategies are needed.

The feature of heterogeneous complexity means that tumors with similar clinical phenotypes may have different genotypic mechanisms and prognosis (Yersal and Barutca, 2014). For more precise diagnosis and prediction of recurrence, systems biology approaches considering both gene signatures and interactive networks would be needed.

Specifically, tumor proliferative capacity is an important factor of the potential of breast tumor metastasis. For a better understanding of the tumor proliferative potential, biomarkers including survival-associated subnetworks need to be identified (Song et al., 2015).

References:

Song Q, Wang H, Bao J, Pullikuth AK, Li KC, Miller LD, Zhou X. Systems biology approach to studying proliferation dependent prognostic subnetworks in breast cancer. Sci Rep. 2015 Aug 10;5:12981. doi: 10.1038/srep12981.

Yersal O, Barutca S. Biological subtypes of breast cancer: Prognostic and therapeutic implications. World J Clin Oncol. 2014 Aug 10;5(3):412-24. doi: 10.5306/wjco.v5.i3.412.

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