London: In a major breakthrough which may
prevent needless surgery, scientists claim to have developed a
test that can predict whether women treated for an early form
of breast cancer will develop dangerous tumours later in life.
Sufferers are often advised to undergo mastectomies,
that is, removal of their breasts as a precaution.
Now, an international team has devised the test
that can successfully predict whether after initial treatment,
the sufferers had a high or low risk of developing invasive
cancer, the `Daily Mail` reported.
"Women will have much more information, so they can
better know their risk of developing invasive cancer. It will
lead to a more personalised approach to treatment.
"As many as 44 per cent of patients may not require
any further treatment, and can rely instead on surveillance,"
Prof Karla Kerlikowske of California University, who led the
research, was quoted as saying.
If a test is developed for wider use, doctors would be
able to advise women about the need for extra treatment such
as radiotherapy or hormonal drugs, say the scientists.
The scientist, writing in the `Journal of the National
Cancer Institute`, found that three biomarkers -- proteins and
other molecules in breast tissue -- that can identify which
women have double the risk of invasive cancer in later years.
It could benefit women with ductal carcinoma in situ
-- cancer in cells lining the milk ducts that has not spread.
A study also looked at the medical histories of 1,162
women aged 40 or over who were diagnosed with DCIS and treated
with lumpectomies. Over eight years, a quarter of women
developed invasive cancer and one in seven had recurrent DCIS.
The scientists found women whose DCIS tissue was
positive for three biomarkers were twice as likely to develop
Researcher Dr Thea Tisty said: "This is an
exciting and powerful beginning, to be able to predict which
pre-cancers will lie dormant and which will lead to invasive