NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
April 1, 2008 • Volume 5 / Number 7 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

Page Options

  • Print This Page
  • Print This Document
  • View Entire Document
  • Email This Document
  • View/Print PDF

The information and links on this page are no longer being updated and are provided for reference purposes only.

Featured Article

Gene Signatures Enhance Breast Cancer Risk Estimates

Combining gene signatures for breast cancer with clinical factors such as patient age and tumor size can improve predictions about the risk of recurrence in women with early-stage disease, new research suggests.

This strategy may also help physicians select the most appropriate chemotherapy regimens for women who undergo additional (adjuvant) therapy to prevent recurrences, the researchers report in the April 2 Journal of the American Medical Association.

Gene signatures are characteristic patterns of gene activity in cells that may reflect the underlying disease biology. A number of breast cancer signatures have been developed to predict clinical outcomes and several are being tested in trials such as TAILORx and MINDACT.   Read more  

Clinical Research Highlights

Trial Suggests HRT Increases Breast Cancer Recurrence Risk

Long-term follow-up data from a randomized clinical trial indicate that, in women previously treated for breast cancer, use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) significantly increases the risk of recurrence or contralateral breast cancer - a new cancer in the opposite breast. Published online March 25 by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), the analysis shows a 2.4-fold increased risk of recurrence or contralateral breast cancer in women randomized to receive HRT to treat menopausal symptoms compared with women given the best, nonhormonal treatments for such symptoms.

The trial, called HABITS, conducted in Scandinavia, was halted in 2003 after an interim analysis showed a 3.5-fold increased risk of cancer in women in the HRT arm. This longer-term analysis followed 442 women for a median of 4 years. Of the 221 women in the HRT arm, 39 had a "breast cancer event," compared with 17 of 221 in the control arm.   Read more  

The NCI Cancer Bulletin is produced by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI, which was established in 1937, leads the national effort to eliminate the suffering and death due to cancer. Through basic, clinical, and population-based biomedical research and training, NCI conducts and supports research that will lead to a future in which we can identify the environmental and genetic causes of cancer, prevent cancer before it starts, identify cancers that do develop at the earliest stage, eliminate cancers through innovative treatment interventions, and biologically control those cancers that we cannot eliminate so they become manageable, chronic diseases.

For more information on cancer, call 1-800-4-CANCER or visit

NCI Cancer Bulletin staff can be reached at