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21-Gene Recurrence Score Predicts Distant Breast Cancer Recurrence

Posted Mar 10 2010 6:59am
In a previous blog , I discussed the effectiveness of a 21-gene test for predicting breast cancer recurrence in breast cancer patients with node-negative, estrogen receptor - positive breast cancer and the impact the results of this test have on physicians and patients regarding breast cancer treatment options.  As I indicated in my earlier blog, high recurrence scores using this 21-gene test predicted recurrence and many physicians gained more confidence in their treatment recommendations after assessing the recurrence scores. 

New breast cancer research expands upon these earlier studies by exploring the utility of this 21-gene test in different breast cancer populations.  For this new study, investigators examined the predictive ability of this multigene test in node-negative and node-positive postmenopausal breast cancer patients being treated with the anti-estrogen tamoxifen or the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole.  The 21-gene test was used to determine recurrence scores in over 1,200 breast tumors.  The results of this analytical study showed
  • In node-negative (no lymph node involvement) breast cancer patients:
    • A low recurrence score (< 18) had a breast cancer recurrence rate = 4%
    • An intermediate recurrence score (18 - 30) had a recurrence rate = 12%
    • A high recurrence score (> 31) had a recurrence rate = 25%
  • In node-positive (lymph nodes involved) breast cancer patients:
    • Breast cancer recurrence = 17% in patients with low recurrence score
    • Breast cancer patients with an intermediate recurrence score had 28% rate of breast cancer recurrence
    • A high recurrence score had a breast cancer recurrence rate of 49%
  • The ability of this 21-gene test to predict breast cancer recurrence was similar in patients treated with the aromatase inhibitor or tamoxifen.
Like the initial studies I discussed, this new study shows the value of this new multigene test for predicting the risk of breast cancer recurrence.  In both sets of breast cancer patients (node negative and node positive), a higher recurrence score was related to a higher recurrence of breast cancer and treatment differences in this study did not alter the predictive value of the multigene test.   This is important research that might positively impact breast cancer outcomes and survival.  If physicians can use this or similar tests to determine individuals at a greater risk of breast cancer recurrence, treatment options and future monitoring can be adjusted to minimize their risk or catch any recurrence at an earlier stage.

In addition to reading this blog to enhance your breast cancer awareness, there are steps you can take to reduce your personal risk of breast cancer.  Read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer at .
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