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New studies highlight how breast cancer prognosis test helps patient management

Agendia : 02 June, 2008  (Company News)
Agendia has revealed data from two studies involving the company’s MammaPrint breast cancer prognosis test will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's (ASCO) annual meeting.
The findings show that MammaPrint, a prognostic test for breast cancer recurrence using a 70-gene signature, provides important information for more effective patient management.

'These studies demonstrate the clinical utility of MammaPrint in helping physicians make more informed decisions about the course of care for their patients with breast cancer,' said Laura van 't Veer, PhD, head of molecular pathology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, who participated in both studies. 'Prognostic tests such as MammaPrint have ushered in a new era in personalised medicine, helping us to determine the most appropriate care based on an individual patient's risk and treatment preferences. This might mean, in some cases, avoiding harsh therapies that may otherwise not be effective'.

In the first study, conducted at The University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, tumour samples from 198 patients with early stage, lymph-node negative breast cancer were analysed with multiple gene-expression assays, including MammaPrint, to determine whether both prognostic and treatment prediction data could be generated from a single specimen.

Among 32 percent of patients (64 of 198) predicted to be at low risk for breast cancer recurrence with MammaPrint, 31 percent (20 of 64) were predicted to be highly sensitive to endocrine therapy while 88 percent (56 of 64) were predicted to be insensitive to chemotherapy. The remaining 134 patients who were considered to be at high risk for cancer recurrence, were predominantly predicted chemo-sensitive (more than 51 percent).

'These findings are exciting as they suggest that different predictive tests that evaluate the risk of recurrence and therapeutic response can be used conjunctively on a single tumour sample to help physicians gain a clearer picture of a patient's treatment needs,' Dr Pusztai said. 'The information gained from multiple predictive tests can be used to help physicians make more personalised decisions related to patient management. It may also be useful in helping identify additional areas for research, such as determining the best course of treatment for patients who are identified as being at high risk for breast cancer recurrence and also likely to not respond to certain treatments.'

The second study was a prospective trial to assess the clinical implementation of MammaPrint in 15 community hospitals in The Netherlands. Of 427 MammaPrint gene profiles obtained from 812 patients with node-negative breast cancer, 30 percent of the results were discordant with the Dutch treatment guidelines. For example, some patients categorised as high risk for cancer recurrence using MammaPrint had been previously identified as low risk using the guidelines. In 54 percent of the discordant cases, the course of treatment was changed.

'MammaPrint provides important information that physicians don't otherwise get through prognostic guidelines. More importantly, physicians in community-based hospitals in this trial highly valued the addition of the information provided by MammaPrint as benefiting patient management,' Dr van 't Veer said.

Abstracts of the studies will be published in the May 20 Supplement to the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
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