Research Groups

Breast Cancer (BC)

According to a recent survey of the National Oncological Center , published in 2002, in Bulgaria breast cancer is the most common feminine malignancy. Therefore we have focused our research interest in studying the influence of mutations in genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 on development of BC in Bulgarian population.

Recently the successful application of the microarray technology gave the opportunity to distinguish between different subtypes of cancer and define their specific expression profiles. Different mechanisms and pathways are related to the pathogenesis of BC, including DNA damage repair pathway; androgen and estrogen homeostasis, cell signalling and epigenetic regulation of gene expression. By focused analysis of key participants in these pathways, we expect to identify genomic and epigenetic alternations associated with these types of cancer in Bulgarian population. The elucidation of the impact of the individual genes/ variants included in this study and estimation of their cumulative risk for cancer development, aggressiveness and survival rate will assist the discovery of new diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers.

Collaboration with the aim to study circular tumor cells (CTC) in patients with BC has been established. The main goal of the initiative is to define the relationship between the levels of CTC (determined by the levels of expression in the peripheral blood samples of three genes: hMAM, CK-19 and CD44) and the objective response, time to progression, survival rates and overall survival in patients with metastatic breast cancer using Real Time PCR.

Clinical Collaborators:

Assoc. Prof. Svetla Christova, MD, PhD,

Chief Assist. Prof.  Alexandrina Vlahova, MD,

Assist. Prof. Tihomir Dikov, MD, Central Pathology Laboratory, University Hospital “Aleksandrovska”, Department of Pathology, MU-Sofia;

Chief Assist. Prof. Theophil Sedloev, MD,

Chief Assist. Prof. Valentin Popov, MD,

Assoc. Prof. Atanas Jonkov, MD, PhD, University Hospital “Aleksandrovska”;

Assoc. Prof. Konstanta Timcheva, MD, PhD,

Margarita Taushanova-Hadjieva, MD,

Spartak Valev, MD , Chemotherapy Clinic, NSHATO, Sofia.