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Measuring medicine: How new technologies could help doctors predict patient outcomes
Date:4/16/2008

patient with progressive disease (P < .001), suggesting that high amphiregulin expression was associated with the development of stable disease with gefitinib or erlotinib treatment, the researchers said.

The detection and prediction of circulating tumor cells in breast cancer patients: Abstract 3696A

Note: This researcher is not scheduled to participate in a press briefing at the meeting. Interviews can be arranged by contacting Staci Goldberg at 267-646-0616.

Researchers report a new, noninvasive method for measuring circulating tumor cells in patients with breast cancer, information which can be used to predict the likelihood that cancer will spread. The technique detects circulating tumor cells with 100 percent specificity and 88 percent sensitivity, researchers report.

Metastasis, or the spread of cancer beyond the original site, is the main cause of death in breast cancer, said Tim Molloy, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. If we can improve ways of measuring risk of metastasis, we can more effectively target therapy and manage these patients.

Specificity is a statistical calculation that measures the likelihood that a negative result will be associated with the absence of disease. Sensitivity measures the likelihood that a positive result will be associated with disease.

Molloy and colleagues used a quantitative polymerase chain reaction-based detection platform that combined genetic information from four accepted tumor markers into a single score. The higher the score, the greater likelihood of circulating tumor cells.

When researchers applied this test to 131 individuals, an elevated score was observed in 88 percent of patients with metastatic breast cancer, 18 percent of patients with non-metastatic breast cancer and none of the healthy control participants.

After identifying patients whose tumors gave rise to high numbers of circulating tumor cell
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Contact: Staci Vernick Goldberg
Staci.goldberg@aacr.org
267-646-0616
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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