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New genomic test can personalize breast cancer treatment
Date:2/9/2009

A set of 50 genes can be used to reliably identify the four known types of breast cancer, according to research conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and collaborating institutions. Using this 50-gene set, oncologists can potentially predict the most effective therapy for each breast tumor type and thereby personalize breast cancer treatment for all patients.

"Unlike a widely used genomic test that applies only to lymph-node negative, estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer, this new genomic test is broadly applicable for all women diagnosed with breast cancer," says breast cancer specialist Matthew Ellis, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University.

The study was reported Feb. 9, 2009, through advance online publication in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Ellis' collaborators include co-authors Charles Perou, Ph.D., associate professor of genetics and pathology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Philip S. Bernard, M.D., assistant professor of pathology and medical director of the molecular pathology laboratory at the University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute, and Torsten Nielsen, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of British Columbia.

Breast cancer results from genetic abnormalities in breast tissue, but not all breast cancers have identical genetic alterations. Ellis and his colleagues analyzed the gene activity of more than 1,000 breast tumors to identify and validate the genetic signature of each of the four types of breast cancer. Although the cancer types are distinguished by thousands of genetic differences, the researchers were able to narrow the list down to a set of 50 of these genes that could uniquely identify each type.

These tumor types have been previously defined and are known as luminal A, luminal B, HER2-enriched and basal-like. The latter t
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Contact: Gwen Ericson
ericsong@wustl.edu
314-286-0141
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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