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Understanding Cancer Series

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  • Posted: 10/20/2009

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Slide 13

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Can Genome-Wide Profiles Inform Cancer Prognosis?

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Yes. Certain gene changes have already been associated with cancer prognosis. For breast cancer, researchers have identified a set of 21 cancer-related genes whose expression is associated with risk of breast cancer recurrence among women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer treated surgically. The profile yields a "score" that predicts the likelihood of disease recurrence. It is not yet clear how each of the genes functions, whether separately or together, whether as "driver" or "passenger," in the pathophysiology of breast cancer.

Graphic shows how a breast cancer tissue sample can be probed with 21 markers for genes linked to recurrence. Based on the test, a report tells there are 34 chances out of 100 that breast cancer will recur.