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New test may predict spread of breast cancer
Date:3/24/2009

exposed to chemotherapy or radiation, which can have significant side effects or even worsen the disease, says Dr. Condeelis.

Recently, Dr. Condeelis found that breast cancer spreads only when a specific trio of cells are present together in the same microanatomic site: an endothelial cell (a type of cell that lines the blood vessels), a perivascular macrophage (a type of immune cell found near blood vessels), and a tumor cell that produces Mena. The protein Mena was shown to enhance a cancer cells invasiveness in a collaborative study from Dr. Condeelis and Frank Gertler at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT published in Developmental Cell in December. A site with these three cells constitutes what is called a tumor microenvironment of metastasis, or TMEM.

The NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell investigators, aided by the Einstein and MIT scientists, then developed a tissue test to detect the presence and density of TMEMs. The test consists of a triple immunostain containing antibodies to the three cell types. A high number of TMEMs in a tissue sample means that the tumor is likely to metastasize or has already done so. In the current study, the immunostain was tested on breast tissue biopsy samples taken from 30 patients with advanced metastatic breast cancer and 30 patients with localized breast cancer, all of whom had been followed for at least five years. The resulting immunostains were evaluated by two pathologists who were not aware of the patients clinical outcomes.

Their analysis confirmed that TMEM density was significantly higher in patients who had developed metastatic breast cancer than in those who had localized disease. For every ten-unit increase in TMEM density, the risk for metastatic disease doubled. The density of any of three TMEM components alone was not sufficient to predict clinical outcome.

The study also showed that the ability of the TMEM density test to predict metastatic disease was indep
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Contact: Deirdre Branley
dbranley@aecom.yu.edu
718-430-2923
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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