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Researchers Classify Breast Cancer To Improve Treatments

Update Date: Aug 28, 2014 09:18 AM EDT

Breast cancer has many subtypes and researchers have devised a new tool that will identify those subtypes. The classification could improve treatments and targeting of treatments for the disease. 

Cancer is a result of genetic changes which cause normal cells to develop into tumors. Researchers have come to know that breast cancer is not one single disease. The mutations in the genes that cause different cancers are not like, and for the same reason tumors respond differently to treatment and grow at different rates. 

As of now, clinicians use two key markers to predict response to treatments. 

The devised technique, dubbed IntClust system, uses genomic technology to create a classification system that provides enough details that accurately pinpoint which type of breast cancer a patient has. 

Scientists considered around 997 tumor samples they had used to develop the system and 7,544 samples from public databases. Researchers classified using their IntClust system and two main systems in use today namely PAM50, and SCMGENE. 

Researchers found that their system was at least as good at predicting patients' prognosis and response to treatment as the existing system. 

 "We have developed an expression-based method for classification of breast tumours into the IntClust subtypes. Our findings highlight the potential of this approach in the era of targeted therapies, and lay the foundation for the generation of a clinical test to assign tumors to IntClust subtypes," Raza Ali, lead author from Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute said in the press release. 

The study has been released in the journal Genome Biology

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