New breast cancer test opens way to personalised therapy

UK researchers have discovered a way to predict which breast cancer patients will benefit from chemotherapy drugs, in a move that opens the door to personalised treatment.

The study of over 2,500 women found that those who have a duplication of chromosome 17 in their tumour will benefit from anthacycline drugs.

Lead researcher Professor John Bartlett, from the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘We were looking for markers to help decide when to give a woman this type of chemotherapy using a test that is already part of patient’s treatment.

‘This study gives us a key in the door to personalised chemotherapy treatment. Until now we haven’t been able to predict which women are likely to benefit from this type of chemotherapy.’

Kate Law, director of clinical trials at Cancer Research UK, added that the findings could ‘have the potential to change the way we treat women with breast cancer’.

The findings of the study, funded by Cancer Research UK, were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

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