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tests may help treat breast cancer

tests may help treat breast cancer

Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, compared how five gene profiling tests performed at predicting outcomes of 295 breast cancer patients. Although the tests used different sets of genes, four were similar in accuracy and better than tests used now, which are based on tumor characteristics.

"They agreed 80% of the time," indicating they all are ultimately tracking the same biological processes affecting tumor growth, said lead researcher Charles Perou.

Two of the four have been available for about two years, and two large international studies have been launched to establish their ultimate accuracy and usefulness.

The tests can be automated and standardized for wide use, eliminating the variability that exists when pathologists have to evaluate the appearance of tumor cells under a microscope, Joyce O'Shaughnessy of the Baylor Sammons Cancer Center wrote in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine. Such tests in the future could allow 30% to 50% of women to skip chemo, she wrote. (AP)

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