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New study shows biopsy of recurrent breast cancer can alter treatment
Date:11/28/2011

(TORONTO Nov. 28, 2011) A second, larger clinical research study led by breast cancer specialists at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) has again proven that comparing a new biopsy of progressing or recurring cancer with that of the original cancer can dictate a change in treatment.

The results are published online today ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Principal investigator Dr. Eitan Amir, medical oncologist in the PMH Cancer Program, University Health Network, says clinicians involved immediately altered treatment in one of seven patients based on the new biopsy results.

"This was a study of specifically undertaking biopsy of areas of breast cancer recurrence and altering treatment therapy based on the findings in real-time." says Dr. Amir.

"For clinicians, these findings show it is feasible to biopsy recurrence of breast cancer. For patients with progressive or recurring disease, these findings may encourage them to ask their physician if a second biopsy is needed to confirm their treatment therapy is still correct."

The study team analyzed 121 biopsies from patients with progressing or recurring disease to determine any changes in the predictive markers (such as hormone or HER2 "receptors") that influence response to breast cancer treatments. It is the presence, absence and/or combinations of these receptors that help oncologists provide effective personalized medicine to each individual.

Dr. Amir says the most important findings were the potential for negative receptors to become positive. "It is significant because this change in receptor status potentially introduces new effective treatment options for patients." This was the case for most of the women whose therapy changed after results of the second biopsy were available compared to basing the treatment plan on initial biopsy at the time of diagnosis.

This study was also the first to look at the survival of patients w
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Contact: Jane Finlayson
jane.finlayson@uhn.ca
416-946-2846
University Health Network
Source:Eurekalert

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