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Caution urged over breast cancer recurrence predictors

Friday February 16th, 2018

Four commercially developed genetic tests seek to predict risk of breast cancer recurrence – but vary significantly in their accuracy, British researchers warned last night.

The researchers at Queen Mary, University of London, UK, say that not all the tests can predict accurately the risk of five-year recurrence of disease.

This means that clinicians, using the tests, are not able to give women good advice on whether they need chemotherapy or preventive medication, the researchers say.

The study, involving 800 patients, found the tests had good prognostic value for women with node-negative disease, predicting the risk of recurrence for up to ten years.

Only two tests had good prognostic value for node-positive disease – and only when there was extra information about tumour size and the number of positive lymph nodes, according to the report in JAMA Oncology.

Researcher Dr Ivana Sestak said: This is the first time that anyone has directly compared the prognostic performance of these four common commercially-available tests. This gives clinicians and oncologists the opportunity to review all the results and decide upon the test they want to use for their breast cancer patients.

“Being able to accurately predict the risk of breast cancer recurrence is even more important now that we are in an era where women are prescribed preventive endocrine therapy for many years.”

She added: “If we were better able to accurately assess a woman’s long-term risk, then some women may be able to end their endocrine therapy after five years. But for those deemed high risk of a late recurrence, continuing their endocrine therapy would be a valuable option.”

Comparison of the Performance of 6 Prognostic Signatures for Estrogen Receptor–Positive Breast Cancer - A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial JAMA Oncol 15 February 2018 [abstract]

Tags: Cancer | Genetics | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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