Promising blood test predicts possible return of breast cancer

Breast cancer can come back and metastases can cause tumors in other places. This blood test can predict the chance of return.

Promising blood test predicts possible return of breast cancer
Breast cancer can come back and metastases can cause tumors in other places. This blood test can predict the chance of return.

Promising blood test predicts possible return of breast cancer

 

Even after healing, a breast cancer patient can develop new tumors after a certain time. Metastases can also cause tumors in other places in the body. It is difficult to predict how big that chance is.

 

Scientists, however, have now developed a blood test that may indicate the risk of the disease coming back later.

 

Return of breast cancer

American scientists have recently published a paper in the scientific journal Science Translational Medicine. They speak of a new blood test that would be one hundred times more accurate than other comparable blood tests that can recognize the DNA of cancer cells. Such tests are currently available, but they are only reliable in patients with advanced cancer. According to the researchers, the accuracy of the new test means that diseases such as breast cancer can also be detected at an early stage through a blood test.

 

Remaining cancer cells

​​​​​​​The research team, consisting of scientists from Arizona State University, the City of Hope, Mayo Clinic and the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, are enthusiastic about the initial results. The scientists base their conclusions on a test with 33 women in whom stage 1, 2 and 3 have been diagnosed with breast cancer. By comparing the blood values with the patient's normal cells, they were able to distinguish the cancer cells from the genetic abnormalities for remaining cancer cells (which can later develop into new tumors).

 

Important step forward

​​​​​​​"This is an important step forward," says Dr. Debu Tripathy, professor and chairman of the medical oncology department at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. "This test can help identify residual breast cancer at an early stage that may not be detectable with standard scans."

 

Follow-up treatment

​​​​​​​The researchers state that the blood test is not only beneficial to identify a risk of recurrence of the disease. It could also be a good tool to determine the right treatment for patients whose tumors have just been removed. "If we could really say with greater certainty that a patient has no residual disease, we could drastically reduce the number of unnecessary and expensive treatments," says Dorraya El-Ashry of the American Cancer Research Foundation. "Conversely, if the patient still has remaining cancer cells, we could choose a better personalized treatment based on the blood test results."

 

More research

​​​​​​​According to one of the researchers, Muhammed Murtaza, it will take a while before the test can be admitted to the oncology department at the hospital. According to him, first several studies are needed that can further prove the effectiveness of the blood test. A research is currently underway among two hundred breast cancer patients in which it is investigated which levels of tumor DNA in the blood most often lead to recurrence of the disease. In addition, it is being examined whether the test can also be applied to other forms of cancer.