New breast cancer test indicates better survival

3 March 2015

A new test has been developed that is able to predict the survival chances of women by analysing images of 'hotspots'. These are able to be identified, as they show a strong immune reaction to a tumour.

Using statistical software, the team from the Institute of Cancer Research, London, were able to track the extent to which the immune system was able to attack breast cancer cells.

Described in the journal Modern Pathology, the test could help determine whether a woman's immune system is inhibiting cancer, and highlight those who may need intensive treatment to combat a more aggressive type.

The team used tumour samples from 245 women with a type of breast cancer that is particularly challenging to treat - oestrogen receptor negative (ER negative). With computerised imaging of tumour samples and statistical analysis, they were able to track the number of immune cell 'hotspots'.

Researchers found that women who had a high number of spots in their cancer were likely to have an average of 91 months before their cancer spread, compared with just 64 months for those with a low number of spots.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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