Researchers have developed a new method for distinguishing between breast cancer recurrences and new primary tumors, according to a study published online December 25 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
One commonly used method is to detect changes in DNA copy number. Another is to compare clinical and pathologic characteristics of the two tumors.
Marc Bollet, M.D., of the Institut Curie in Paris and colleagues compared these two methods with a new method that uses DNA breakpoint data by assessing their ability to distinguish between breast cancer recurrence and new primary tumors in 22 breast cancer patients.
For 14 women, all three methods agreed on whether the tumor was a new primary tumor or a recurrence. The DNA breakpoints method more often agreed with the clinical and pathologic method than did the DNA copy number method. The DNA breakpoints method also outperformed the clinical method in determining the likelihood of metastasis.
The authors concluded that DNA breakpoints could better determine the nature of the breast cancer recurrence than clinical and pathologic characteristics or DNA copy number information.
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