10 subgroups in breast cancer


New research ’paves way’ for personalised breast cancer treatment - One-size does not treat all
We do realise that shortly readers are going to become fed up with CANCERactive saying ’We told you this years ago’, but then we repeatedly study research from all over the world it is not our fault that others don’t, or are slow to adopt it.
Now, a study in Nature Magazine has confirmed that there is no such thing as ’One-size-fits-all’ in breast cancer. An analysis of 2,000 breast cancer patients showed that at least 10 ’sub-groups’ existed. The problem? According to research team leader Professor Carlos Caldas, the treatment regimes lag behind the analysis. In other words, breast cancer is quite an individual disease, but the treatments to date don’t recognise this. Just as we have been telling you!
For example, about 70 per cent of women are currently thought to be hormone responsive and are routinely given drugs like tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors. Some women respond well, others poorly. This new classification helps explain why. Caldas added that treatment programmes were several years behind the findings.
There are clear survival differences among the 10 categories. Clusters two and five seem to have a 15-year survival of around 40 per cent, while Clusters three and four have a higher survival of around 75 per cent over the same period. But the bad news is that there is a targeted therapy for just one of the 10 breast cancers groups; Herceptin. The other groups will still be given "standard" therapies such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Cancer charities were describing the findings as ’Immense’, and ’Paving the way for personalized treatment’.


April - June Cancer Watch 2012
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