Tests to determine growth rate?

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Question from Michey: Are the "S-phase fraction" and "Ki-67" tests the only tests to determine how fast the breast cancer is growing? Which procedure do you use and why?
Answers - Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. Currently, my pathology department does not report S-phase or Ki-67 index. This is because we are relying more on the estrogen progesterone receptor, the HER2 status, and the tumor grade.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. These two tests of how fast the cancer is growing have limited usefulness when it comes to understanding the nature of the cancer and figuring out the best treatment plan. The tests are good, but they tend to be unreliable, so you can't depend on them too much. There are other ways of figuring out if the tumor is aggressive and fast growing. The tumor grade largely reflects this issue.

The presence of a HER2 abnormality, lymphatic/vascular invasion, lymph node involvement, and absence of hormone receptors all go along with a more aggressive problem. But even if there is an aggressive cancer identified, there are effective treatments that can be used to successfully combat it.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Your Operative and Pathology Reports featured Beth Baughman Dupree, M.D., F.A.C.S. and Ann Ainsworth, M.D. answering your questions about details of pathology and operative reports and the importance of discussing them with your doctors.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in November 2004.

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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