Gene Signature Predicts Breast Cancer Recurrence
Reported January 21, 2005
(Ivanhoe Newswire) –Researchers have identified a group of genes known as a gene signature, that can help single out which breast cancer patients may be at high risk for having a future cancer recurrence, according to a new study.
Researchers in the Netherlands studied the gene expressions in 286 tumor samples from 209 lymph-node-negative breast cancer patients. The patients had not received hormone or chemotherapy after their initial cancer treatment and varied in age and in their tumor sizes. The participants included women who had estrogen receptor positive and negative breast cancer.
Results show, after a follow-up averaging eight years, 93 of the women had cancer that spread to another part of their body. Through analyzing 115 of the tumors, researchers identified a 76-gene signature that could predict cancer relapse.
This gene signature was tested on 171 lymph-node-negative patients in the study and it predicted (with a 93-percent sensitivity) which patients would have a cancer recurrence within five years. The test was less accurate (with a 46-percent sensitivity) at predicting cancer recurrence beyond five years.
According to the study, the test could help determine better treatment plans for cancer patients.
In an accompanying commentary, other researchers point out that several different large-scale studies identifying gene signatures for breast cancer recurrence do not identify the same groups of genes when compared, thus making it difficult, so far, to determine which gene signature test to trust.
The Lancet, 2005;365:671-675