Genetic mutations clue to breast cancer relapse

Vienna, Sep 26 (IANS) A British research team has found genetic mutations as clues to breast cancer relapse, saying these could tell whether breast cancer is likely to relapse after treatment.

The research was presented at the European Cancer Congress (ECC) here on Friday by Dr Lucy Yates, leader of the team from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute at the University of Cambridge, Xinhua news agency reported.

While most breast cancer patients are able to be successfully treated, about one in five will see a relapse of the disease following treatment.

The team has studied 1,000 women with breast cancer including 161 cases of relapse. It compared primary and secondary cancers and found noticeable genetic differences and mutations in secondary cancers, which were relatively uncommon in those appearing for the first time.

Yates said patterns found show that some primary cancers appear to show a predisposition toward a relapse and are potential targets for therapies which include taking regular tissue samples from cancers to show changes in the progression of the disease and to target its particular genetic mutation.

New developments mean this can also be analysed via blood samples, on which it is much simpler to conduct tissue biopsies, Yates said.

The team hopes that likelihood of a relapse will be determined upon diagnosis of an individual case, and a personalised therapy will then be offered to prevent it, he added.

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