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Predicting Breast Cancer Recurrence By Understanding Gene Signature

Researchers say they have now identified a group of genes known as a gene signature, that could help single out which breast cancer patients may be at high risk for having a future cancer recurrence .//

For the study the gene expressions in 286 tumor samples from 209 lymph-node-negative breast cancer patients were examined. The patients had not received hormone or chemotherapy after their initial cancer treatment and varied in age and in their tumor sizes.

Results analyzed, after a follow-up averaging eight years, showed 93 of the women had cancer that spread to another part of their body. Through analyzing 115 of the tumors, researchers identified a 76-gene signature that could predict cancer relapse. The gene signature was tested on 171 lymph-node-negative patients in the study and it predicted (with a 93-percent sensitivity) which patients would have a cancer recurrence within five years. However the test was less accurate (with a 46-percent sensitivity) at predicting cancer recurrence beyond five years.

Since some studies identifying gene signatures for breast cancer recurrence do not identify the same groups of genes when compared, researchers say it becomes difficult to determine which gene signature test to trust. Thus in conclusion researchers say if further studies are done it could help determine better treatment plans for cancer patients .

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