FRIDAY, Sept. 15, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- A new test may help identify which breast cancer patients are most likely to benefit from chemotherapy.
The test, called OncoPlan, is already commercially available, and it has been shown to predict the aggressiveness of tumors and disease recurrence after surgery in breast, colon and stomach cancers. Now researchers believe it may help predict which breast cancer patients would benefit most from chemotherapy.
In a study presented at the first meeting on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development, researchers looked at the two forms of protein measured by OncoPlan in 2,380 women with breast cancer, 717 of whom had undergone chemotherapy.
They found that the women who had low levels of one of the proteins and did not receive chemotherapy had very poor outcomes. The same women who did receive chemotherapy, however, had a twofold reduced risk of relapsing and dying from their disease.
The women who had high levels of the protein were much more likely to survive their disease, and appeared to derive no additional benefit from chemotherapy.
More research is needed to clarify the ability of OncoPlan in predicting outcomes of chemotherapy.
"But even at this point, the results are very exciting because, with further validation in clinical trials, OncoPlan, which is already being used to predict disease aggressiveness, will help to ensure that individual patients receive the most beneficial therapies," study author A. Raymond Frackelton Jr., an associate professor at Brown University and vice president of Research at Catalyst Oncology (the company marketing OncoPlan), said in a prepared statement.
The National Cancer Institute has more about breast cancer.