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M. D. Anderson study questions true favorability of rare breast cancer type
Date:12/12/2009

SAN ANTONIO - In a large review of breast cancer patients with mucinous carcinoma, researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have identified an association between this rare type of breast cancer long-associated with a favorable prognosis and multiple tumors undetected by mammography or ultrasound.

The study, presented today at the CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, is the first to observe this negative association and should caution those caring for mucinous breast cancer patients that more, not less, therapy, as well as additional screening may be needed for a select group of these patients, said George Perkins, M.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson Department of Radiation Oncology and the study's first author.

Mucinous breast cancer, also known as colloid carcinoma, is a rare type of invasive breast cancer formed by mucus-producing cancer cells. Perkins estimated that the disease accounts for approximately two percent of all breast cancers diagnosed. The prognosis for mucinous carcinoma is thought to be better than for the more common types of invasive breast cancers.

"While mucinous breast cancer is thought to be a disease with a favorable prognosis, our study is the first to identify it as one associated with significant multifocal presentation - a potentially unfavorable aspect with a subtype long thought to be extremely favorable," said Perkins. "Our findings must caution those caring for these women that they may not only need more radiographic evaluation, such as MRI, but also intraoperative collaboration with radiology and pathology. These patients also may need standard radiation treatment, rather than the minimal effective therapy, which could include no post-surgery treatment at all."

Researchers reviewed charts of 264 patients with mucinous carcinoma treated at M. D. Anderson between 1965 and 2005. The median age and follow-up was 57 years and 168 months respectiv
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Contact: Laura Sussman
lsussman@mdanderson.org
713-745-2457
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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