A new study has found what could be a groundbreaking new way to spot people who are at a high risk of breast cancer recurrence.
Scientists have just made a big discovery that could change how doctors look for breast cancer in the future. The ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group says they’ve managed to measure what are known as circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in blood samples from patients who had been cancer-free for five years and then determined how likely they were to have the cancer recurr.
It’s a huge new development that could provide a new way to predict how likely someone is to relapse with breast cancer. The findings were presented at the 40th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, and scientists say they show that of the women who remained cancer free five years after diagnoses, about 5 percent had a CTC test that was positive.
They also found this positive test was tied to a risk of recurrence of around 35 percent, comapred to just 2 percent if the CTC test was negative. It’s a finding that should result in deeper research into CTCs and how they can help predict cancer recurrence.
“Late recurrence five or more years after surgery accounts for at least one-half of recurrences of breast cancer, and there are no tests that identify who is at highest risk. We found that in women who were cancer-free five years after diagnosis, about 5 percent had a positive CTC test,” said lead researcher Joseph A. Sparano, MD, vice chair of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, Philadelphia, and associate director for clinical research at Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein Cancer Center, New York.