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Microarray provides 3 genomic guides to breast cancer treatment decisions
Date:9/7/2007

HOUSTON - Three genomic tests separately predict the likelihood that a patient's breast cancer will reoccur after surgery without additional treatment, and the cancer's vulnerability to chemotherapy or hormone therapy, researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report at the first American Society of Clinical Oncology ASCO Breast Cancer Symposium Sept. 7-8 in San Francisco.

Each predictor - of prognosis, of sensitivity to chemotherapy and sensitivity to hormone therapy - is independent of the others, providing unique information to physicians and patients considering treatment options, says W. Fraser Symmans, M.D., professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Pathology.

"Existing genomic tests for breast cancer provide information about future risk in general, but not the likely benefit of each treatment option separate from a patient's overall prognosis if no treatment followed surgery. It is important to independently assess these three variables," Symmans says.

Symmans and Lajos Pusztai, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Breast Medical Oncology will present two research updates on the genomic predictors, which can be reported from a single microarray analysis of a needle biopsy of a patient's breast cancer.

Symmans will present results from two studies involving 960 patients validating a 200-gene index that predicts a patient's response to hormone-suppressing therapy. About 70 percent of breast cancers express the estrogen receptor (ER), indicating that their growth is fueled to some extent by the female hormone estrogen. Anti-estrogen therapies such as tamoxifen only benefit about half of these patients. The challenge is to predict exactly who will be helped and who should seek additional treatment.

In the two studies the Sensitivity to Endocrine Therapy (SET) Index score predicted distant relapse free survival among 453 patients who received tamoxifen
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Contact: Scott Merville
sdmervil@mdanderson.org
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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