Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mammograms reveal response to common cancer drug

Date:
April 22, 2013
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
Researchers have developed a method for assessing the effect of tamoxifen, a common drug to prevent the relapse of breast cancer. The key lies in monitoring changes in the proportion of dense tissue, which appears white on a mammogram, during treatment. Women who show a pronounced reduction in breast density during tamoxifen treatment have a fifty percent reduction in breast cancer mortality.

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have developed a method for assessing the effect of tamoxifen, a common drug to prevent the relapse of breast cancer. The key lies in monitoring changes in the proportion of dense tissue, which appears white on a mammogram, during treatment. Women who show a pronounced reduction in breast density during tamoxifen treatment have a fifty per cent reduction in breast cancer mortality. This tool provides doctors with the possibility to assess whether a patient is responding to tamoxifen at an early phase of treatment.

Tamoxifen is a common hormone therapy drug that is usually given over a course of five years to prevent relapse in women who have completed their primary breast cancer treatment. However, no method has been available for assessing which women are likely to respond to the tamoxifen and not develop relapse of breast cancer. Researchers from Karolinska Institutet have now produced a possible way of doing just this.

The team looked into mammograms, which are X-ray images of the breast, for an answer. Breast tissue on a mammogram can be broadly classified into fatty or dense. The proportion of tissue which appears white is what contributes to 'density', whilst the black parts are mostly fat. Since tamoxifen has been repeatedly shown to induce a reduction in mammographic density, could it be that only women responding to tamoxifen treatment would exhibit a concomitant decrease in mammographic density?

The study included almost 1,000 postmenopausal women who had been treated for breast cancer. Roughly half of the group had been given tamoxifen. The women were monitored over an average of 15 years, after which 12.4 per cent (121 women) had died as a result of their cancer.

The team discovered that the difference in mammographic density between two mammograms taken after the initiation of tamoxifen was related to breast cancer survival. Women who experienced a pronounced density reduction of 20 percent or more upon initiation of tamoxifen were half as likely to die from breast cancer, over a span of 15 years, than those who experienced little or no change.

The researchers hope that their results will be used to assess which breast cancer patients are responding to tamoxifen treatment. Since the patient group already undergoes annual follow-up mammograms, no further examinations are needed.

"What's needed is accurate measurement of mammographic density, which isn't currently routine," says Per Hall, Professor at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. "Measuring changes in density can be a simple and cheap means of assessing the effect of the treatment. If a patient is not responding to tamoxifen, maybe they should be given a different drug."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Karolinska Institutet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jingmei Li, Keith Humphreys, Louise Eriksson, Gustaf Edgren, Kamila Czene, and Per Hall. Mammographic Density Reduction Is a Prognostic Marker of Response to Adjuvant Tamoxifen Therapy in Postmenopausal Patients With Breast Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 22 April 2013 DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2012.44.5015

Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Mammograms reveal response to common cancer drug." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130422175704.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2013, April 22). Mammograms reveal response to common cancer drug. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130422175704.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Mammograms reveal response to common cancer drug." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130422175704.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