ORLANDO, September 26, 2002 -- Biopsy is the standard tool to determine whether small breast tumors have invaded nearby lymph nodes, a signal that additional therapy is called for to destroy roving cancer cells. But the traditional procedure for nodal biopsy is, itself, major surgery with serious potential complications, and many women with early-stage cancer have no biopsy or follow up therapy, putting them at risk for recurrence from undetected metastatic disease.
At the "Era of Hope" Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program meeting, investigators present three studies with findings that may change clinical practice by making it possible to identify likely metastasis without nodal biopsy, demonstrating the accuracy of a less invasive technique when biopsy is called for, and confirming the importance of determining nodal status for all women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.
Advanced Technology May Detect Breast Cancer and Define Prognosis Without Surgery
A new technology developed by Australian researchers may enable women to learn -- within minutes and without surgery -- if a breast abnormality is benign or malignant and, if they have early breast cancer, whether or not the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
"This technology could eliminate a lot of unnecessary surgery in women with breast abnormalities by providing both a diagnosis and a prognosis before surgery," said Cynthia L. Lean, Ph.D., scientific director of the Institute for Magnetic Resonance Research in Sydney, Australia, and a member of the team that developed the technology.
The technique, known as magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), works by analyzing the chemicals present in a small cluster of cells removed with a fine needle from the suspicious area of the breast. If a malignancy is found, a computer program evalu
Contact: Jennifer Goldberg
Cooney Waters Group, Inc.