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New technique may help detect potential breast cancer spread
Date:5/8/2009

A new phase III clinical trial of early stage breast cancer patients has shown that a molecule designed to home in on nearby lymph nodes is just as accurate as current techniques, but faster, more specific and easier to use.

"These results will really enable molecular biology to enter the operating room for lymph node detection," said breast surgeon Anne Wallace, MD, professor of clinical surgery at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and the Moores UCSD Cancer Center, and one of the study leaders. Wallace described her team's results May 7, 2009 at the 3rd International Symposium on Cancer Metastasis and the Lymphovascular System in San Francisco.

When a woman has breast cancer, doctors want to be sure that the disease has not spread to her lymph nodes, the first place a cancer may go. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels, ducts and glands that usually carry disease-fighting cells throughout the body, but also can act as a conduit for cancer cells to access the bloodstream.

According to Wallace, the presence or absence of cancer in lymph nodes is an important predictor of breast cancer prognosis, and as a result, the appropriate treatment. But finding the right lymph nodes to test and a standardized method of doing so hasn't been easy.

Wallace and David Vera, PhD, professor of radiology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, were instrumental in the early development and testing of the molecule, called Lymphoseek, a radiopharmaceutical that binds to the receptor on lymph node white blood cells called macrophages. The radioactive portion of the molecule essentially lights up, enabling detection of such nearby "sentinel nodes" that are the most likely candidates to biopsy for possible cancer.

The trial, led by research teams at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center, the Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, FL and other centers, along with the Dublin, OH-based Neoprobe Corporation, which developed Lymphoseek, compared
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Contact: Steve Benowitz
sbenowitz@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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