Blood test may help predict recurrence of breast cancer.

NBC Nightly News reported on new research that “could lead to a simple way of telling women who have already been treated for breast cancer, whether their disease could come back.”

On its website, ABC News reports that the research, published in The Lancet Oncology, suggests “a simple blood test can help predict the recurrence of breast cancer.”

MedPage Today reports, “Finding even one circulating tumor cell at the time of surgery in women with nonmetastatic breast cancer correlated with more than four-fold risk of death or recurrence over two years of follow-up, according to a prospective study by Anthony Lucci, MD, of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues.”

This “risk rose with the number of tumor cells detected in peripheral blood, they reported.”

This is “‘a minimally invasive way of getting additional information that could be very helpful,’ Lucci said in an interview at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.”

WebMD reports, “The study … may help to explain why about 25% of patients who catch their cancer early will see it return, even after successful surgery to remove their tumors.”

HealthDay reports, “Currently, the American Society of Clinical Oncology does not recommend that clinicians measure circulating tumor cells in patients.”

Meanwhile, “in an accompanying comment article, Justin Stebbing, a professor in the department of surgery and cancer at Imperial College in London, said that ‘despite increasing evidence supporting the use of [circulating tumor cells] as biomarkers, how this information can be integrated into present practice is uncertain.'”

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