Breast cancer

30 April 2010

Breakthrough in Predicting Invasive Breast Cancer

New way to predict spread could avoid overly aggressive treatment, researchers say


This article has not necessarily been edited by Health24.

WEDNESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- A new way to predict whether women with the most common form of breast cancer are at risk of developing more invasive tumors later in life will help those women be more selective about their treatment, U.S. researchers report.

They analyzed the medical records of 1,162 women, aged 40 and older, who were diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and underwent lumpectomy, which is surgical removal of the tumor and some of the surrounding normal tissue.

The researchers found that two factors -- method of diagnosis and expression of several biomarkers -- were predictors of the risk of developing invasive breast cancer within eight years of being diagnosed with DCIS.

The risk was higher among women who had a breast lump diagnosed as DCIS than among those whose DCIS was diagnosed by mammography. Women with high levels of the biomarkers p16, cyclooxygenase-2, and Ki67 in DCIS tissue were also more likely to develop invasive breast cancer.

Women with the lowest risk had only a 2 percent chance of developing invasive breast cancer at five years after diagnosis and a 4 percent chance at eight years.

As a result of the research, doctors can better predict whether women treated with a lumpectomy only are at a very low or a high risk of developing invasive cancer later.

The findings mean that women with DCIS "will have much more information, so they can better know their risk of developing invasive cancer. It will lead to a more personalized approach to treatment. As many as 44 percent of patients with DCIS may not require any further treatment, and can rely instead on surveillance," study author Dr. Karla Kerlikowske, a professor of medicine, and epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center, said in a news release.

Only about 1 percent to 2 percent of women with DCIS die of breast cancer within 10 years of diagnosis, but many choose aggressive treatment because they don't fully understand their risk of developing invasive breast cancer, the researchers said.

The study appears online April 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

More information has more about DCIS.


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Breast cancer expert

Dr Gudgeon qualified in Birmingham, England, in 1968. She has more than 40 years experience in oncology, and in 1994 she founded her practice, Cape Breast Care, where she treats benign and malignant breast cancers. Dr Boeddinghaus obtained her qualification at UCT Medical School in 1994 and her MRCP in London in 1998. She has worked extensively in the field of oncology and has a special interest in the hormonal management of breast cancer. She now works with Dr Gudgeon at Cape Breast Care. Read more.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules