Breast Cancer Includes 11 Diseases With Varying Likelihood Of Recurrence

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Breast Cancer Includes 11 Diseases With Varying Likelihood Of Recurrence
Breast Cancer Includes 11 Diseases With Varying Likelihood Of Recurrence

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Breast cancer includes 11 diseases with varying likelihood of recurrence

Breast cancer is 11 genetically distinct diseases, each with its own prognosis and likelihood of relapse (return) after treatment. It is hoped that such a detailed distribution of breast cancer patients will provide new personalized approaches to treatment.

Breast cancer includes 11 diseases with varying likelihood of recurrence
Breast cancer includes 11 diseases with varying likelihood of recurrence

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Breast cancer is 11 genetically distinct diseases, each of which has its own prognosis and likelihood of relapse (return) after treatment, as shown by a joint study by the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and the American Stanford University, published in Nature.

“Breast cancer treatment has improved significantly in recent years, but unfortunately in some women, breast cancer comes back and spreads, becoming incurable. For some, this may happen many years later, but it is impossible to accurately predict who is at risk of relapse and who is clean,”said study leader Carlos Caldas, professor at the Cambridge Institute for Cancer Research.

Scientists have observed and studied genetic changes in breast tumors of 2,000 women for 20 years. This data was then analyzed to develop tools that can then be used to predict high risk of relapse.

“In this study, we delved deeper into the molecular subtypes of the breast, so we can more accurately determine who is at risk of relapse and find new ways to treat them,” said Carlos Caldas.

DNA analysis of breast cancer has identified 11 different diseases. For example, triple negative breast cancer, which has one of the worst prognosis, actually comes in two different types. One of them has an initially poor prognosis, but with successful treatment, the disease is unlikely to return with a survival rate five years after diagnosis.

Conversely, a group of patients with estrogen receptor-positive tumors was found, where the initial prognosis is usually better than with triple-negative cancer, but the risk of very late recurrence of the disease (up to 20 years after diagnosis) is higher.

It is hoped that such a detailed distribution of breast cancer patients will provide personalized treatment approaches, reduced relapse rates, and reassurance for women at very low risk of relapse. Unfortunately, this test is not yet widely available.

“We are still unable to offer this kind of detailed molecular testing to all women, and we need more research to understand how we can tailor treatment to the individual nature of a patient's tumor. But this is incredibly encouraging progress,”said Professor Karen Vousden, Principal Research Fellow at the Cambridge Institute for Cancer Research.

Based on the findings, a team of researchers is currently developing an affordable test for use in hospitals and is exploring personalized treatment options for breast cancer patients. The ultimate goal is to conduct clinical trials using more effective treatment protocols that match the exact genetic makeup of the tumors.

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