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Encouraging study to better treat certain breast cancers

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It is possible to stop the progression of certain breast cancers by detecting a genetic mutation in the heart of the tumors in time and adapting the treatment accordingly, according to a study.

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The report was published by the Lancet Oncology, one of the leading cancer journals, being the first of its kind “to show significant clinical benefit after previously targeting the bESR1 mutation,” its authors summarize.

As is known, in breast cancer, tumor cells evolve over time and, depending on certain mutations, can become resistant to the treatments used.

The authors of this study, carried out by the oncologist François Clément Bidard in several dozen French hospitals, assessed that it is important to detect one of these mutations -bESR1- early and act accordingly.

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To detect this mutation, they used a promising technique in recent years in the world of cancer: the “liquid biopsy”.

The objective is to study the content of the tumors without having to extract, as in a classic biopsy, tissue from the breast itself, a potentially complex operation with consequences for the patient.

This time it is a simple blood draw

The blood of patients does indeed contain a small part of DNA that comes from cancer cells and it is becoming increasingly well known to isolate and study it.

Thus, in patients with this mutation, two groups of approximately 80 people were formed. One continued to receive the original treatment, while the other switched to another medication, fulvestrant.

As a consequence, in the second group, cancer progression was interrupted for a higher average of several months.

Beyond the single bESR1 mutation, the authors consider that the strategy used – use of liquid biopsy and then rapid change of treatment – could serve as a model for future therapeutic strategies.

However, this study has several limitations. It does not assess whether this change in treatment actually improves patient survival, and it only looked at a certain type of breast cancer, in which the tumor is receptive to estrogen. This is what allows the hormonal treatments used in this study to work.

In addition, they do not apply the so-called “triple negative” cancers, which are the deadliest because they are the most complex to treat.

With information from the AFP Agency.

Source: Gestion

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