Study by USC Scientists and Colleagues Points to Better Detection, Treatment
A new test appears to discover hidden cancer cells in women with breast cancer more effectively than current detection methods, better indicating which women need aggressive anti-cancer treatments and which can be spared the side effects of chemotherapy, according to a study by scientists at USC/Norris Cancer Center and the International Breast Cancer Study Group.
The findings, published in the Sept. 11 issue of The Lancet, point the way to more advanced, customized treatments suited to meeting the medical needs of individuals with breast cancer. Doctors may be able to gather information about the characteristics and extent of a patient's cancer far better than ever before.
"Our findings may help to identify those patients with breast cancer who are at greatest risk of developing metastases, and who thus need treatment beyond surgery, particularly chemotherapy. The findings may also be used to help identify those women with breast cancer who can be spared the side effects and expense of chemotherapy," said Richard Cote, M.D., professor of pathology at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine, who authored the paper with colleagues at USC and the International Breast Cancer Study Group. The group includes investigators from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Harvard University and cancer institutes in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 180,000 new cases of the breast cancer are diagnosed and about 44,000 women die from it annually in the United States.
During most breast cancer surgeries, surgeons remove several lymph nodes, called
axillary nodes, to see if the cancer has spread, or metastasized, beyond the
original tumor in the breast. The presence of cancerous cells in the lymph nodes
indicates that the tumor has metastasized. But under the current way of
examining those lymp
Contact: Alicia Di Rado
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University of Southern California