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Gene Expression Tests Promising in Breast Cancer

But more research is needed to show how they improve predictions of prognosis and treatment

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Preliminary research suggests that three commercial gene expression profiling assays -- Oncotype DX (Genomic Health, Redwood City, Calif.), MammaPrint (Agendia BV, Amsterdam, the Netherlands), and H/I (AvariaDX, Carlsbad, Calif.) -- may benefit women with early-stage breast cancer. But more research is needed to clarify their potential for improving prognostic and therapeutic prediction, according to a report released online Feb. 5 in advance of publication in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Luigi Marchionni, M.D., Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 26 studies.

The researchers found evidence that all three tests may allow for improved risk stratification compared to standard predictors. They also determined that there was somewhat stronger evidence for Oncotype DX than there was for MammaPrint and H/I. But they found that all of the studies were heterogeneous in focus and quality, and noted that only 10 of them focused on prognostic prediction and only one of them assessed the prediction of treatment benefit.

"Although these tests show great promise to improve predictions of prognosis and treatment benefit for women with early-stage breast cancer, more needs to be learned about the extent of that improvement, in whom they affect, and how they are best incorporated into decision making about current breast cancer treatment," the authors conclude.

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