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Breast cancer treatment test hope

Wednesday October 27th, 2010

A new technique may enable doctors to establish whether breast cancer treatment is working in its early stages, British researchers reveal today.

Scientists have found two chemicals that can be used to test whether the drug doxorubicin is working, it was announced.

Developers say the test could be used weeks before a treatment can normally be assessed - the point at which a tumour starts shrinking.

Laboratory studies conducted in Cambridge, UK, show that two chemical markers, [1-13C]pyruvate and [1,4-13C2]fumarate, can indicate whether the drug is damaging cancer cells' DNA or whether the cells are dying as a result of treatment.

The findings are reported in the British Journal of Cancer today.

Researcher Professor Kevin Brindle, of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute, said he hoped the techniques would have an impact on patients "in the near future".

He said: "There has been a need to develop imaging methods that can detect treatment response more accurately and before tumours change size. Our new imaging method not only shows early evidence that treatment is working but could also help predict the long term outcome."

Lesley Walker, of Cancer Research UK, said: "We need fast and accurate ways of knowing that the treatment is working. This research could help us tailor treatment to each patient by giving doctors a useful tool to check treatments are working after a short time, rather than waiting several weeks to see if the tumour is shrinking, reducing unnecessary treatment for women."

Detecting treatment response in a model of human breast adenocarcinoma using hyperpolarised [1-13C]pyruvate and [1,4-13C2]fumarate. Brindle, KM et al. British Journal of Cancer October 27 2010

Tags: Cancer | UK News | Women’s Health & Gynaecology

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