Mamaprint test saves unnecessary chemo

Mamaprint test saves unnecessary chemo

‘Mamaprint’ test to decide whether chemo is needed or not

A new genetic test, dubbed the ‘mamaprint’, can show if women need chemo after breast cancer surgery. And whether or not the drugs would be wasted on them.

Women who have breast cancer surgery often wonder why they need so much chemotherapy afterwards. 4 drugs in one 6-month chemo programme (FEC-T) may be used. But it is estimated that 14 per cent of women have no need for any drug intervention.

Of 53,000 women who are diagnosed each year with breast cancer, 43,000 undergo surgery, and then 18,000 of these have chemotherapy.

Now Belgian experts from the Jules Bordet Institute in Brussels have produced a test, which identifies those women whose tumour had a genetic composition that made the cancer unlikely to return. 70 genes are scanned in the test. In the screening test the mamaprint deemed 1550 women to be low risk, where ordinarily they would have been given the chemo as high risk patients. And 94% of this group saw no return of the cancer, whether or not they had had chemo.

This was a large scale study which would not only save a considerable number of women from having unnecessary chemo: it would save significant sums of money on wasted drugs.

The test costs about £2,675.

2016 Research
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