Gene Test May Improve Breast Cancer Treatment

70-gene 'signature' gives more accurate prognosis, study finds

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WEDNESDAY, Sept. 6, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- A test that checks the expression of 70 genes associated with breast cancer can help doctors determine a patient's risk of cancer recurrence or death, an international study finds.

The study included 307 breast cancer patients assigned to high- and low-risk groups based on their scores from the 70-gene signature test and standard risk-assessment using a software program. The patients were followed for 13.6 years.

The gene-signature test was a more accurate predictor of cancer recurrence and death than the software, the researchers found. The study also concluded that the gene test included most of the prognostic information provided by traditional risk classifiers.

"These results indicate that the gene signature adds independent prognostic information," reported scientists at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam.

The findings were published in the Sept. 6 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The 70-gene signature test will be evaluated in a larger study of 6,000 women with node-negative early-stage breast cancer. The trial will assess whether the test can improve identification of women who can safely be spared adjuvant chemotherapy.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about genetics and breast cancer.

SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, news release, Sept. 5, 2006

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