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Recurring cancers in women with a history of breast cancer differ from the original tumors
Date:5/18/2011

nguish new and recurring tumors, Bleicher, Patt, and their colleagues looked at data collected from 4,420 women with a history of breast cancer. Two-hundred and thirty five women were eventually diagnosed with another tumor in the same breast, suggesting it could be a recurrence.

However, when the researchers compared the first and second tumors, they saw that 89% differed in at least one key characteristic that could potentially affect treatment or prognosis, regardless of whether the second tumors were new cases or a recurrence of the original cancer. Sixty percent of the second tumors differed from the first by at least 2 or more criteria, including whether or not it would respond to hormones, how it was diagnosed, and whether at least 25 percent of the tumor was confined to the ducts, and therefore less able to spread throughout the body.

Half of the women experienced a second tumor within 60.5 months of their first. And, importantly, the amount of time they spent cancer-free appeared to have no bearing on whether the two tumors differed in any key characteristics.

The findings suggest that patients and doctors shouldn't spend much time determining if the second tumor is a recurrence of the first, or a totally new entity, says Bleicher, and should instead tailor treatment to the specific qualities of the second tumor, regardless of whether it's old or new.

"When a patient comes back with a relapse, whether it's a new tumor or a recurrence, it really doesn't make a difference," he says. "We treat them both as potentially curable."


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Contact: Diana Quattrone
Diana.Quattrone@fccc.edu
215-728-7784
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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