Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breast cancer tumor make-up changes through the course of disease

Date:
September 26, 2011
Source:
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Summary:
New research has found that breast cancer tumors change their hormonal status throughout the course of disease, whereas the decision about the most effective treatment for the patient is usually only based on one biopsy of the primary tumor. For some patients, biopsy verifications of any relapse may completely change their clinical management, according to the first sizable study to look at changes in tumors in multiple relapses in breast cancer patients.

New research has found that breast cancer tumours change their hormonal status throughout the course of disease, whereas the decision about the most effective treatment for the patient is usually only based on one biopsy of the primary tumour.

For some patients, biopsy verifications of any relapse will be very important because it may completely change their clinical management, a Swedish researcher will tell the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress. Dr. Linda Lindström, from the Karolinska Institutet Department of Oncology-Pathology, Solna, Stockholm, will say that her group's research is the first sizeable study to look at changes in tumours in multiple relapses in breast cancer patients.

"Our study demonstrates tumour instability in clinically used markers throughout tumour progression. We saw, for example, that one in three breast cancer patients alter oestrogen (ER) or progesterone (PR) hormone receptor status, and 15% of patients change human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, or HER2, status during the course of disease," she will say.

ER and PR receptor status tests show whether one or both of these hormones is helping to grow the cancer. Cancer that is hormone positive can be treated by hormone-suppressing drugs, whereas hormone negative cancers may respond to other types of treatment. Hormone negative patients are normally tested for HER2. If this test is positive, treatment such as Herceptin will usually be given.

The researchers studied breast cancer patients in the Stockholm healthcare region who had a recurrence of the disease between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 2007. Information on ER status in several relapses from the same individual was assessed in 119 patients: 33.6% of patients had changes in tumour status between the different sites of relapse (local, loco-regional and metastases) whereas 36.1% of the patients were stable ER positive, and 30.3% were stable ER negative. Sixteen percent of patients changed from ER positive to negative during the course of their disease, 12.6% changed from negative to positive, and 5% altered back and forth throughout tumour progression.

In the PR group, 30.2% of patients altered their hormone receptor status, with the majority changing from positive to negative. "Until now we thought that these predictive markers remained stable during the course of the cancer. But it is now apparent that these breast tumours markers, which are used to decide the best treatment for the patient, change as the tumour progresses and this significantly affects the way patients respond to particular therapies. This has important implications for the future management of the disease," says Dr. Lindström.

The researchers now intend to carry out a prospective study in which they will follow a group of breast cancer patients and examine the standard clinical markers throughout their tumour progression. "With cancer treatments becoming more and more efficacious and targeted to specific groups, it is particularly important that the correct treatment is given throughout the disease," says Dr. Lindström. "An additional advantage of carrying out regular biopsies would be that they could detect other primary cancers, or benign lesions, which could spare patients inappropriate or unnecessary therapies."

Dr. Lindström and colleagues think that their findings could possibly be applied to cancers other than breast. "We believe that tumour instability may be due to many different factors, for instance the choice of therapy and other host (patient) characteristics, and that some inherent tumour behaviour may well be shared by different tumour types. This is a promising area of research with important implications for patient management," she will conclude.

"This finding is of major clinical importance because it shows that many cancer patients who relapse do not receive optimal treatment for their disease. While the price of regular biopsies may seem high for both patients and healthcare systems, in the long run they may avoid inappropriate and costly treatments and, even more importantly, may be the basis for selecting more effective treatments for individual patients," said Professor Michael Baumann, ECCO President.

ESMO spokesman Professor Fabrice André, from the Institut Gustave-Roussy, Villejuif, France, said: "In this study of a large series of patients whose cancer recurred, the investigators have shown molecular changes in the tumours of more than one third. This further underlines the importance of taking regular biopsies in patients who relapse so that they can be sure of getting the most appropriate treatment, and of running trials looking at the relationship between the profiles of metastatic lesions and new agents specifically targeted at them."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation. "Breast cancer tumor make-up changes through the course of disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110925125155.htm>.
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation. (2011, September 26). Breast cancer tumor make-up changes through the course of disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110925125155.htm
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation. "Breast cancer tumor make-up changes through the course of disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110925125155.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) — Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) — A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins