Journal of Undergraduate Research


thymidine kinase 1, predicting cancer recurrence, breast cancer, patient care


Life Sciences


Microbiology and Molecular Biology


Currently it is estimated that over 230,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year in the United States alone. Although treatments are improving, an alarming number of these cases will show cancer recurrence after treatment. A method to consistently predict cancer recurrence is crucial to better treat cancer and improve patient care. Thymidine Kinase 1 (TK1) has been found in abnormally high levels in serum and tissue of cancer patients compared to healthy patients. There is question to why TK1 is present in such high quantities when normally it aids in the DNA salvage pathway during S phase of the cell cycle and is otherwise virtually absent. It has also been shown that elevated TK1 levels in tissue is an early event in most cancers, and therefore has potential to be utilized in early diagnosis and could possibly be used to also predict cancer recurrence. We expect that TK1 is elevated in tissues of patients that later show cancer recurrence while patients that do not relapse have low levels of TK1. With further study of TK1, we may be able to differentiate between patients that later show recurrence and those that do not. Being able to predict patient recurrence for breast cancer patients would help provide better treatment to patients and possibly prevent relapse in the future.

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