New Breast Cancer Treatment Method Could Substitute Current Invasive Techniques

Scientists at Uppsala University in Sweden have developed a new non invasive method in determining the appropriateness of treatment of breast cancer. And it is as accurate as current invasive tissue sampling techniques. Measuring the growth factor HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2) is an important tool for deciding correct treatment in breast cancer. The current diagnosis of elevated HER2 expression in metastatic cancer is based on examination of tissue samples obtained by surgery or needle biopsies from the liver, bones and other organs.

New Breast Cancer Treatment Method Could Substitute Current Invasive Techniques

The study published in the Open-Access journal Theranostics, aimed to develop a technique based on whole body PET\CT imaging comparing the results of image analysis to invasive techniques in the same patients. Patients were scanned using novel tracer molecule, ABY-025 Affibody, labelled with the short-lived radioactive isotope gallium-68. The results showed that the amount of HER2-expression in the metastases was precisely measured with the new method.

Treatments targeting HER2 are expensive but it might prove useful in saving lives of many women. Metastatic cancer refers to spread of the disease from its primary place of origination to other parts of the body. The amount of HER2-expression in the metastases was frequently found to be different from the primary tumor, leading to a change in therapy in several patients.

Thus (PET) imaging of HER2 expression could potentially be used to select patients for HER2-targed therapy, predict response based on uptake and be used for monitoring. It might also act a substitute for invasive tissue sampling technique in future, researchers were quoted as saying.

Following the research in the same field, scientists at Pennsylvanian University have developed a new oral drug, Palbociclib, whose efficacy in combating breast cancer has been demonstrated alone and in combination with endocrine therapy. It also has potential to combat other types of cancer; the finding being published in the journal JAMA Oncology.

They also found that recurrence of HER2-positive breast cancer after treatment may be due to a specific and possibly cancer-induced weakness in the patient’s immune system – a weakness that in principle could be corrected with a HER2-targeted vaccine, boosting anti-HER2 immunity.

The research group plans to widen the scope of study including more participating hospitals to confirm the results, thereby making the novel method extensively accessible to the patients.




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