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Test Reveals, Measures Breast Cancer Recurrence Risk


(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

12 December 2014. A study by Genomic Health, a developer of diagnostics for personalized cancer treatments, shows its test of an early-stage breast cancer can predict long-term chances of recurrence. Frederick Baehner, a pathologist at University of California in San Francisco and vice-president of Genomic Health, is scheduled to present the findings with colleagues today at a symposium on breast cancer in San Antonio.

Genomic Health, in Redwood City, California, develops genomic tests for diagnosing precise characteristics of cancer to help guide physicians’ treatment decisions. Its main product, a test called Oncotype DX, is offered for people with breast, prostate, and colon cancers. The breast cancer tests are designed for early stages of the disease, including a form known as ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS., the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer.

With DCIS, the cancer begins inside the breast’s milk ducts and has not spread to surrounding tissue. While DCIS itself is not life-threatening, women with the condition are at higher risk of breast cancer occurring again, usually within 10 years after the first diagnosis. cites data from American Cancer Society indicating some 60,000 cases of DCIS are diagnosed each year in the U.S., accounting for 1 in 5 cases of breast cancer.

In the study, researchers led by Eileen Rakovitch of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto — also a presenter at the San Antonio symposium — analyzed tumor samples from some 1,200 DCIS patients collected between 1994 and 2003 in Ontario. The analysis included 571 patients who had breast-conserving surgery, such as a lumpectomy, that removed the entire tumor. Tests of the tissue with Oncotype DX returned quantified risk estimates for local recurrence in the next 10 years.

The Oncotype DX risk estimates showed more than 6 in 10 of patients (62%) providing tissue samples were at low risk of recurrence in the following 10 years, which correlates with rates of local recurrence of DCIS or more invasive forms of breast cancer. Genomic Health says those results are consistent with findings from an an earlier validation study conducted with  ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, a consortium of 650 institutions involved in cancer research, showing 70 percent of DCIS cases were at low risk of recurrence.

Identifying risk of recurrence of breast cancer is important in guiding decisions on submitting the patient to radiation therapy, considered the standard of care after surgery.

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