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New Tests Might Better Predict Breast Cancer's Return
Date:12/6/2011

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- New research points to two gene-based methods of predicting if and when women with certain breast cancers will experience a tumor recurrence.

The studies, involving two common forms of breast cancer, are slated to be presented Wednesday at the 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

The research also revealed that genetic data gleaned from tumors might help doctors tailor treatments to individual patients, sparing low-risk women from exposure to unnecessary radiation, for example.

In one study, researchers from the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, North Central Cancer Treatment Group and Genomic Health found that a multi-gene test can predict the risk for recurrence among women who have been diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS (a type of early cancerous growth limited to the breast duct).

In conducting the study, researchers analyzed genetic information from the tumors of 327 women diagnosed with DCIS, to calculate their risk for recurrence. By differentiating between low-risk and more aggressive forms of the disease, the "DCIS Score" predicts the likelihood of local recurrence and might help doctors determine if patients should be treated with surgery or a combination of surgery and radiation.

"The DCIS Score will help physicians understand the underlying biology of DCIS for an individual patient and accurately gauge the risk for that person," Dr. Lawrence Solin, chair of the department of radiation oncology at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, explained in a news release. "As a result, the patient and physician can decide on the appropriate course of treatment based on a more complete understanding of the risk involved."

Cancer experts were cautiously optimistic about the results.

"Ductal carcinoma in situ represents the earliest stage of breast cancer -- cancer cells that have not yet broken through the basement membrane of the breast
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