"We may not only be able to find a prognostic signature, but we can identify other genetic elements that are driving prognosis, so we may also be able to develop additional therapeutic strategies," Hunter said. "We may be able to find new drugs or strategies to improve quality of life and extend life span."
One expert doesn't think this gene makes a contribution to predicting the prognosis of breast cancer.
"This is a marker study looking at a novel gene and its expression, and suggests that the gene expression may predict outcome in node-negative, estrogen-positive breast cancer," said Dr. Harold J. Burstein, an assistant professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
"There are already multiple, commercially available gene expression array tests such as Oncotype DX, MammaPrint, with more extensive clinical support for similar patients," Burstein said. "Most investigators believe that multiple gene assays are more informative than single gene assays."
"Finally, the clinical validation in this experience is drawn from small sets of patients, and the strength of the data suggest modest, if any, real contribution for this gene," Burstein said.
For more on breast cancer, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
SOURCES: Kent W. Hunter, Ph.D., senior investigator, U.S. National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.; Harold J. Burstein, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston; April 21-25, 2008, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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