Research on biomarkers to indicate if cancer cells are in the body?


Question from BrenUKI: I have completed treatment (lumpectomy, chemo, and radiation). What current research is likely to end up with useful biomarkers to address whether malignant cells have escaped and/or are proliferating in the body? The tumor is gone. How can biomarkers tell us about circulating cells?
Answers - Kathy D. Miller, M.D. Your question is a very good one. At this point, they don't. We all hoped that biomarkers would identify recurrence of breast cancer sooner, and that would allow those women to initiate therapy sooner, and therefore the treatment of metastatic disease would be more effective. Unfortunately our current biomarkers simply haven't allowed us to do that. This is still a very active area of research, and as biomarkers get more sensitive [they can identify smaller and smaller amounts of disease] and as our treatments become more effective, that answer may change.

On Tuesday, December 15, 2009, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Updates from the 2009 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Kathy Miller, M.D. and Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. answered your questions about the latest updates on breast cancer risk, screening techniques, treatment options, 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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