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New Molecular Test Can Predict Death Risks In Breast Cancer Patients

The new finding will help to asses the level of death risk in breast cancer patients and protect them from over-treatment after the removal of tumors

New Molecular Test Can Predict Death Risks In Breast Cancer Patients

Death risks can be detected with the new molecular test

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. 20-25% of cancer patients lie under the ultra-low risk category
  2. This test classified 15 % of the cases as ultra-low risk.
  3. Study can be helpful in determining appropriate treatment

In an attempt to provide more personalized care to the women suffering from breast cancer for years and those who have just recovered from the disease, researchers have come up with a new tool which uses molecular technology to detect death risks in women even after 20 years of diagnosis. The study, which was published in a US medical journal aimed at protecting breast cancer survivors from post-treatment therapy which takes toll on their physical as well as mental health. As of now, the researchers have been focusing on preventive measures of breast cancer, but this study is expected to open new scope for research in post-treatment phase.

The JAMA Study

The oncological researchers used a 70-gene-test to assess whether they can predict the slow-growing and indolent cancer cells in patients and put them under ultra-low risk category. This categorization would protect the patients from over-treatment after the removal of tumors from their bodies.

According to health experts, 20-25% of cancer patients lie under the ultra-low risk category but they are treated with heavy doses of therapeutic medicines post-treatment. This unnecessarily affects their physical and mental health. In this study, the researchers set forth to predict breast cancer patients over 20 years and to detect cancers with minimal risk for metastatic progression.

The JAMA Oncologists collaborated with the Stockholm breast cancer study group (STO) which analysed 1,780 lymph node-negative patients with tumors less than or equal to three centimeters in diameter which was randomized to two years of adjuvant tamoxifen v/s no adjustment treatment.

Adjuvant therapy is a treatment provided to cancer patients after the initial surgery or treatment intended to prevent recurrent tumour formation.

Also read Breast Cancer : Signs & Symptoms and Treatment

All the women had their tumors surgically removed. The researchers used these tissues to profile a total of 652 women, of whom 311 had received tamoxifen, and 339 had not received adjuvant systemic therapy.

This test classified 15 % of the cases as ultra-low risk. The women with ultra low risk tumors had an excellent revival mechanism, whether or not they used tamoxifen for 2 years, according to researchers.

The researchers further added that this study can be helpful for physicians and patients to determine their appropriate treatment course, and to inform choice of systematic therapy as well as local therapy.

"This is an important step forward for personalizing care for women with breast cancer," said Laura J Esserman, from the University of California, San Francisco in the US.

"We can now test small node-negative breast cancers, and if they are in the ultra-low risk category, we can tell women that they are highly unlikely to die of their cancers and do not need aggressive treatment, including radiation after lumpectomy," added Esserman.



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