New prognostic indicators for breast cancer?


Question from Rebbie: Are there any new prognostic indicators for breast cancer?
Answers - Nicholas Robert, M.D. In terms of prognostic factors, there is some very exciting work in metastatic breast cancer evaluating so-called circulating tumor cells. This test may be helpful in monitoring patients who are being treated for metastatic breast cancer; however, some of us think what might be more exciting is the ability to understand better the status of a patient being treated for metastatic breast cancer by evaluating cellular characteristics of the cells. To date, this remains an area of study but the hope is that for some patients with metastatic breast cancer, so-called “interrogating” the circulating tumor cells might prove of value in determining specific treatments. This thinking is in concert with an increasing interest to understand better the biology of breast cancer. Again, talking about metastatic breast cancer, the interest is that doing repeat biopsies of the tumor may be of therapeutic benefit.
Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. As a surgeon, when a patient's cancer recurs, we will always opt to re-biopsy the tumor in order to determine whether the patient's estrogen, progesterone, and HER2 status has changed.

On Wednesday, June 24, 2009, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Updates from the ASCO Annual Meeting. Nick Robert, M.D. and Beth Baughman Dupree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answered your questions about the newest findings on risk, screening, treatment, and more.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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