Test Predicts Breast Cancer Recurrence Risk and Chemotherapy Benefit
Results from several studies presented last week at a major research conference validate that a new test can predict the risk of breast cancer recurrence in a sizable group of patients; the studies also appear to identify which of those patients will benefit most from chemotherapy. The studies were heralded by researchers as an important moment in the move toward individualized cancer care. Central to the investigations is a test, Oncotype DX, that analyzes the expression of a 21-gene panel in biopsy samples from women with estrogen-dependent, lymph-node negative breast cancer, which accounts for more than 50,000 breast cancer cases in the United States each year.
The results, presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, "are some of the most striking I have seen in breast cancer," said Dr. Jo Anne Zujewski, a senior investigator in the NCI Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, during a news conference. Read more
A Year to Remember
We launched the NCI Cancer Bulletin this past January to better communicate the myriad activities that constitute the cancer research enterprise at NCI and beyond. Of course, no single publication can adequately capture the enormity of the work being done to defeat the malignancies that we collectively call cancer. Rather, our intention was to provide an authoritative voice that helps those who are committed to defeating cancer stay abreast of some of the most important NCI-supported activities that affect them or their loved ones.
And 2004 was the perfect time to introduce the Bulletin. We saw significant advances that spanned the discovery-development-delivery continuum of cancer research. New findings in the area of cancer imaging, for example, suggest that we are moving toward a time when we can use advanced imaging technologies to monitor cancer at the molecular level, measuring treatment effects before they are clinically apparent, thus making more timely treatment decisions. New insights into the metastasis process were also gained this year, with researchers elucidating critical activity in the tumor microenvironment that enables metastasis to occur. With the launch in October of the NCI Integrative Cancer Biology Program, we will move more quickly toward unraveling the complex processes that underlie tumor growth and metastasis. Read more