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Gene screen for breast cancer better than pathologist's 'eye'

ce of cancer cells and below threshold suggests that the samples are normal.

In the study, Hopkins researchers compared the cancer-detection rates of their QM-MSP test versus microscopic review by a pathologist on breast fluid samples. The fluid samples, taken from high-risk women or those diagnosed with breast cancer, were obtained through a process called ductal lavage, a saline wash via a catheter threaded through openings in the nipple leading to the vast network of breast ducts.

Cytopathologists correctly identified seven of 21 (33 percent) fluid samples containing cancer, and ruled out the disease in nearly all cases negative for cancer (92 of 93 samples, 99 percent). QM-MSP doubled the cancer detection rate to 71 percent by spotting 15 of 21 samples known positive for cancer. Of 76 samples negative for cancer, QM-MSP concurred on 63 (83 percent).

"Now that we know the screening tool is effective in finding cancer cells within breast duct fluid, we need to improve the accuracy of obtaining the fluid," says Sukumar, who believes that their gene screen may miss cancers if they overlook any hidden breast ducts.

Improvements in getting an accurate representation of fluid from all the breast ducts are underway by other investigators, and include using sound waves to locate all the ducts.


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Source:Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions


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