New Breast Cancer Test May Help Doctors Guess Better About Potential Spread

I wish I was around for this, or at least, my cancer was, before I was (in my opinion) over-treated.    But a new test can allegedly tell if a breast cancer is going to spread.  Nix the chemo, radiation, and surgery, if not needed. (Doctors can't always tell, so they treat, "just in case.")

Almost 40,000 women a year die of breast cancer, and many thousands more are diagnosed with it.

According to, currently marketed tests assess risk for breast cancer metastasis by looking for changes in gene expression or in levels of proteins associated with growth of tumor cells,”  “But those changes don’t reflect the mechanism by which individual tumor cells invade blood vessels, a necessary step for metastasis," said Joan Jones, M.D., senior author of the JNCI paper, professor of pathology, of anatomy and structural biology and of epidemiology & population health at Einstein and attending pathologist at Montefiore Medical Center.

"By contrast, our test is based on what Einstein researchers learned from intravital imaging, which reveals biological processes deep within the tissues of a living animal. Using this technology, they determined how breast cancer tumor cells spread in rodents," she added, at the site.

Observations showed that primary breast cancers metastasize when a specific trio of cells is present together in the same microscopic area.  A site where three cells -- one that lines the blood vessels, another found near blood vessels and a tumor cell that produces high levels of a protein that enhances a cancer cell’s ability to spread  -- touch is where tumor cells can enter blood vessels.

 Scientists used several different imaging technologies to reveal in great detail how cancer and other complex diseases get started and progress in the body, permitting the translation of basic-science observations into relevant clinical applications.


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