Thank you, Gina Kolata, for continuing to explain both the science and the personal dilemmas of breast cancer treatment research.
Increasingly, oncologists and researchers are focusing on the nature of the tumor itself — “tumor typing” — rather than the location of the tumor when recommending treatments. I expect that very soon, we won’t be diagnosed with “breast cancer.” Rather, we may have “estrogen-receptor positive, HER2/neu amplified, TOP2A amplified cancer located in the breast.”
In addition to HER2 status, estrogen and progesterone receptors, there are other biomarkers currently under study that may help us make treatment decisions.
Genes may also tell us about whether or not we will respond to the treatments indicated by tumor typing. Research is mounting that the effectiveness of tamoxifen depends on which versions of the CYP2D6 gene you inherit.
Stay tuned for more posts on genes and drugs, aka, pharmacogenetics. And a hat tip to Hsien for her latest post on genes and cancer risk.