Scientists identify molecular marker to analyze chemotherapy response in breast cancer patients
September 01, 2015
The study examined 11,212 patients with early-stage breast cancer who had already received treatment. It took into account other predictive markers such as tumour size and grade, whether the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes and the state of oestrogen receptors.
Oestrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer means that oestrogen receptors have been found in the cancer cells. These receptors pick up oestrogen, fuelling the growth of the tumour.
Testing for BCL2 is already well-established for blood diseases. It is a simple and inexpensive test, compared to other predictors which are undergoing lengthy trials.
Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: "Chemotherapy can be an unpleasant experience for some patients. This study could help doctors assess whether a patient will actually benefit from this treatment and could save some patients enduring side effects unnecessarily.
"This is one of the largest studies of its kind and plays an important part in determining the role of BCL2 by looking back at breast cancer cases. But further research with existing patients is needed to decide how BCL2 testing can best be used."
Source: Cancer Research UK