Blood Test May Be Able To Predict Breast Cancer Relapse

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A newly-developed blood test may be able to predict if people with breast cancer are likely to relapse at the point they are initially diagnosed by looking at biomarkers in blood of immune system function.

This is the first successful research that links a sold tumor with blood biomarkers, which is an indicator of whether a patient will remain in remission. It is important to identify those at higher risk for relapse when they are first diagnosed so they can have more aggressive treatments and monitoring.

In healthy people, these components are often finely balanced, but people with cancer tend to have reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine activity and increased surpressive activity, giving rise to a muted immune response, allowing cancer to thrive.

Through an in-depth analysis of immune markers detected in the peripheral blood and corresponding tumors of breast cancer patients, the authors identify a handful of markers that reflect the patients' immune state, said Professor Christina Curtis, leader of the Cancer Computational and Systems Biology Group at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Many breast cancers relapse after five years, so currently, the test may only be potentially useful for a fraction of people with breast cancer.

It will be of interest to determine whether these markers can potentially predict recurrence beyond 5 years, said Curtis, who is also co-director of the Molecular Tumor Board at the Stanford Cancer Institute and previously led a project looking at how breast cancers can be characterized into 11 distinct types, each with a different risk of relapse.

Read the full story from Forbes.

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