A new study published today in JAMA Oncology has suggested that a molecular test can identify patients at an ‘ultralow risk’ of dying from breast cancer by 20 years

Friday 30 June 2017      Latest research

Using a molecular test called MammaPrint, researchers from UC San Francisco found that 15% of patients tested had an ‘ultralow risk’ of dying from breast cancer in the long term. The researchers estimated that as many as 25% of breast cancers in populations where breast screening is widespread could fall into this ultralow risk category.

In those identified as ‘ultralow risk’, women who had received tamoxifen had 97% breast cancer survival rate 20 years after their initial diagnosis, while those who didn’t had a 94% breast cancer survival rate.

This study suggests that women at an ‘ultralow’ risk, particularly older patients, could therefore choose to receive less treatment and avoid the associated side-effects as a result.

Dr Richard Berks, Research Communications Manager at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“This very promising test could help accurately predict a patient’s long-term outlook and enable doctors and patients to make the most appropriate treatment decisions.

“Crucially, prognostic testing like this will offer the opportunity to women at very low risk of dying to avoid difficult treatments that they won’t gain much benefit from, while also giving them peace of mind for the future. MammaPrint therefore offers another welcome step towards more personalised breast cancer treatment, helping us meet the needs of women living with and beyond the disease more effectively.

“We now look forward to tests like this being implemented more widely to ensure all women get the treatment that’s right for them. In the meantime, we’d encourage people with breast cancer to speak to their doctors if they’d like to discuss the benefits and risks of their treatment options.”

More information

Read the full study on the JAMA Oncology website