Blood Test Predicts Breast Cancer Relapse

Using data from a person’s immune response, researchers have devised a blood test that may accurately predict the risk of breast cancer recurrence. Despite scientific advancements in breast cancer research, this type continues to be the leading cancer among women in the United States and the second deadliest after lung cancer. Many breast cancer survivors live with a continual worry that the condition will reemerge, while researchers are hard at work, trying to discern patterns of breast cancer recurrence. For instance, studies of breast cancer receptors show that estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancers are more likely to recur in the first 5 years after diagnosis, while ER-positive breast cancers are associated with a higher risk of recurrence in the following 10 years.

New research looks at the body’s antitumor inflammatory response to devise a blood test that may soon predict a person’s chances of experiencing breast cancer recurrence. Dr. Peter P. Lee, chair of the Department of Immuno-Oncology at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, in Duarte, CA, is the senior author of the new study, which appears in the journal Nature ImmunologyThe balance between the immune system’s pro- and anti-inflammatory signaling in response to cytokines can determine a person’s antitumor immune reaction, explain Dr. Lee and colleagues in their paper.

For the study, the researchers recruited 40 breast cancer survivors and clinically followed them for a median period of 4 years. The researchers also used an additional sample of 38 breast cancer survivors to attempt to replicate their findings from the previous group. A person with cancer tends to have peripheral blood regulatory T cells (T-reg cells, for short) with less active pro-inflammatory cytokine signaling pathways and more active immune suppressive cytokine signaling pathways, explain the researchers.

Using this signaling data, the scientists created an index. The hope is that, eventually, healthcare professionals will be able to run data of a blood sample from a breast cancer survivor through an algorithm based on Lee and the team’s cytokine signaling index. The goal is for physicians and breast cancer patients to know the risk of the disease recurring within the next 3–5 years.

Knowing the chance of cancer relapse will inform doctors how aggressive a particular patient’s cancer treatment should be,” Dr. Lee explains. “The [cytokine signaling index] is an overall reflection of a patient’s immune system at diagnosis, which we now know is a major determinant of future relapse.

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/

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