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)