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Test May Help Guide Treatment of Early Breast Tumors

Genetic Test Predicts Risk of Cancer Coming Back if Radiation Is Skipped

Test Predicts Breast Cancer Recurrence Risk continued...

Using tumor tissue that had been frozen at the time the women were treated, the researchers used the new test to see if it could identify those at higher risk for an invasive cancer and those at lower risk. It did, Solin says.

About three-fourths of the women fell into a "low-risk" category, with only a 5% chance of having cancer come back over a 10-year period.

Eleven percent of the women were classified as "high-risk." Their odds of having a new invasive cancer over a decade: Nearly 20%.

The price tag of the new test is high: $4,175. But radiation therapy can cost more than $25,000, Smith says.

Still, he would like to see further study in women who do have radiation treatment.

"The test just tells us whether a woman who doesn't have radiation is likely to have a recurrence. It doesn't necessarily tell us whether a woman who does have radiation will have a recurrence. That wasn't looked at," he says.

Jennifer Ligibel, MD, a breast cancer specialist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, says she welcomes the new test. "This is data clinicians should really consider as they make decisions regarding radiation therapy," she says.

The new test is a version of the OncoType DX breast cancer test already used to help predict which women can safely skip chemotherapy.

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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