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Genomic test aids breast cancer treatment

By Catherine Wolf, KWMU

St. Louis – Researchers say a new breast cancer test should help doctors tailor treatment according to which type of cancer a patient has. The test identifies the four known types of breast cancer using a set of 50 genes.

Washington University breast cancer specialist Dr. Matthew Ellis co-authored the study with researchers from three other universities. Ellis says the test will identify several types of breast cancer. One of them, basal breast cancer, grows quickly and doesn't respond to hormonal therapy.

"So, it's a distinct type of breast cancer that probably needs its own therapeutic approach but in order for that to happen you need to be able to define it diagnostically and this test does that."

Ellis says a genomic test currently used in clinical practice does not identify all four tumor types. Ellis says he expects clinic trials for the new breast cancer test to begin this year.


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