Cancer Support Group

Saturday, Apr 17th

Last update:06:42:40 AM GMT

Home News and Update Year 2010 A Study Offers Clues on Therapy for Cancer - New York Times

A Study Offers Clues on Therapy for Cancer - New York Times

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, tracked nearly 1,200 women who received diagnoses of ductal carcinoma in situ, or D.C.I.S., which is often referred to as precancer because the risky cells have not moved outside the milk duct.

With the increased use of mammography, the diagnosis of D.C.I.S. is on the rise, yet most of the women who have the condition are at low risk of ever developing an invasive cancer. Because doctors have no way to identify which lesions pose the greatest threat, most women treat the problem aggressively, undergoing a combination of lumpectomy and radiation or opting for mastectomy.

The researchers collected data on 1,162 women with D.C.I.S. from 63 hospitals in the San Francisco area and followed their progress for an average of eight years.

They identified three “biomarkers” that predicted higher risk of invasive cancer. When all three markers were present, or positive, a woman had a 20 percent individual risk of developing invasive cancer over eight years. When all the markers were negative, her risk of invasive cancer was only 4 percent, according to the report published online Wednesday by The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

About 28 percent of the women in the study fell into the high-risk category. Today, women with breast cancer are not typically tested for these markers, called p16, COX-2 and Ki67..

“At this point in time we’re probably overtreating people and undertreating people,” said Dr. Karla Kerlikowske, professor of medicine, epidemiology and biostatistics at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the university. “If we can define a woman’s risk a little better, then we can personalize what they want to do.”

The study also determined that when D.C.I.S. is detected by breast exam rather than by mammography, the woman is also at higher risk for developing an invasive breast cancer within five to eight years.

Several breast cancer experts not involved in the study said that the findings were an important step toward more personalized cancer treatment, but that they were not likely to change practice any time soon.

“It’s a great study and a good example of how we can decrease overtreatment by identifying markers which can tell us which lesions are the good ones versus which are likely to become invasive and deserve more aggressive treatment,” said Dr. Susan Love, clinical professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

An accompanying editorial said the study was “thought provoking” and “mystifying” because the “triple positive” biomarker predicted risk for invasive breast cancer but did not predict increased future risk for recurrent D.C.I.S.

The study is also limited by its size and the fact that the women studied received only lumpectomies. Typically, women with D.C.I.S. get lumpectomy and radiation or mastectomy.

“This is not practice changing,” said Dr. Jennifer Litton, assistant professor in the department of breast medical oncology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. “But it’s certainly very exciting to start to give us more clues as to what might be the underlying biology of less aggressive or more aggressive tumors.”

Disclaimer: The news story on this page is the copyright of the cited publication. This has been reproduced here for visitors to review, comment on and discuss. This is in keeping with the principle of ‘Fair dealing’ or ‘Fair use’. Visitors may click on the publication name, in the news story, to visit the original article as it appears on the publication’s website.


This is YOUR sites, so if you have suggestions or feedback on how we can improve it for you, please let us know! We do our best to keep up!

Make a Suggestion
Manthan Award

Link to Aarogya

aarogya logo