Skip to comments.Gene test could better predict breast cancer - More research is called for
Posted on 12/13/2008 8:49:50 PM PST by neverdem
SAN ANTONIO -- A new test to predict an ordinary woman's odds of getting breast cancer works better than a method doctors have relied on for decades, researchers reported Friday.
The test is the first to combine dozens of genes and personal factors such as age and childbearing to gauge risk in women who don't have a strong family history of the disease. They account for three-fourths of all cases.
In a California study to check its validity, the test correctly classified 50 percent more women with breast cancer as high risk than the current method did, and properly scored others lower. Results were given at a cancer conference in Texas.
But don't rush out to get it, cancer specialists plead. Even though this test and several others claiming to predict risk are available, more research is needed to prove their worth, they say.
"The market is being flooded with all these tests making all these claims," said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.
"There's no 'Consumer Reports' of genetic testing" to rate their accuracy and usefulness, he said.
Women and doctors have long wished for a simple test that could reveal risk beyond the two BRCA genes, which tend to cause cancer at early ages but account for only a few percent of all cases. In the last year, four companies started selling broader multigene tests, but their value is widely disputed.
Women thought to be at high risk can get more frequent mammograms or MRI scans to check for breast cancer, or consider hormone-blocking drugs such as tamoxifen. But even some advocates for better prevention approaches don't think gene tests are a good idea until more is known about the best treatment options...
(Excerpt) Read more at seattlepi.nwsource.com ...
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