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New method to test breast lesions could better detect cancer, save money by reducing repeat biopsies
Date:5/30/2013

PHILADELPHIA A newly developed, single-step Raman spectroscopy algorithm has the potential to simultaneously detect microcalcifications and enable diagnosis of the associated breast lesions with high precision, according to data published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"Nearly 1.6 million breast biopsies are performed and roughly 250,000 new breast cancers are diagnosed in the Unites States each year," said Ishan Barman, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and the study's lead author. "If 200,000 repeat biopsies were avoided, even by a conservative estimate, the U.S. health care system could save $1 billion per year."

X-ray mammography is currently the only accepted routine screening method for early detection of breast cancer, but it cannot accurately distinguish whether microcalcifications (microscopic areas of calcium accumulation) are associated with benign or malignant breast lesions, according to Barman. Most patients, therefore, undergo core needle biopsy to determine if the microcalcifications are associated with malignancy, but the technique fails to retrieve microcalcifications in about 15 to 25 percent of patients. This results in nondiagnostic or false-negative biopsies, requiring the patient to undergo repeat, often surgical biopsy.

According to the researchers, the newly developed algorithm exhibited positive and negative predictive values of 100 percent and 96 percent, respectively, for the diagnosis of breast cancer with or without microcalcifications. The algorithm also showed an overall accuracy of 82 percent for classification of the samples into normal, benign or malignant lesions.

"There is an unmet clinical need for a tool that could minimize the number of X-rays and biopsy procedures. This tool could shorten procedure time; reduce patient anxiety, distress and discomfort; and prevent complications s
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Contact: Jeremy Moore
jeremy.moore@aacr.org
215-446-7155
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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