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Faster genetic testing method will likely transform care for patients with breast cancer
Date:3/26/2014

Faster and cheaper DNA sequencing techniques will likely improve care for patients with breast cancer but also create challenges for clinicians as they counsel patients on their treatment options. Those are among the conclusions of a study published recently in the BJS (British Journal of Surgery). The findings provide insights into how genetic advances will soon be affecting patient care.

When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, it's important to know as much about her tumour as possible to determine the best treatment. Most cases of breast cancer are sporadic, but a minority are hereditary and caused by one or more mutations in genes such as BRCA1 or BRCA2. To find such genetic mutations in newly diagnosed patients, researchers must sequence the woman's DNA, which is generally a relatively slow process that generates results weeks or months after patients have started treatment. Next generation sequencing (NGS) is a newer method of sequencing DNA that processes large amounts of data. It's faster and more expensive than conventional sequencing, but in recent years it has become cheaper and more widely accessible by rapid advances in computing power. With the use of NGS, which will soon become the mainstay of clinical genetics, breast cancer units will likely be able to get the results of genetic testing before patients begin their breast cancer treatment.

In a collaboration between breast surgeons and medical geneticists at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital and Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, UK, Simon Pilgrim, MD, and his colleagues searched the medical literature to identify relevant studies relating to breast cancer genetics and then looked to see what impact NGS will have on breast cancer units as well as what opportunities will arise for improving treatment for patients.

The researchers found that because NGS will allow breast cancer clinicians to know whether patients carry high-risk mutation
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Contact: Evelyn Martinez
sciencenewsroom@wiley.com
201-748-6358
Wiley
Source:Eurekalert

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