Thursday, April 19, 2012

Predicting response to chemotherapy

Predicting response to chemotherapy and likelihood of cancer recurrence is the name of the game these days.  New tools are currently available for women diagnosed with breast cancer and include the OncotypeDX and Mammaprint tests.  Both test help predict which early breast cancers are most likely to recur and can help guide treatment options.  There are key differences between the tests so be sure to talk with your doctor about which test may be right for you.

But with ovarian cancer the story has long been different.  As we noted in Positive Results, a BRCA mutation has been an indicator of improved response to chemotherapy and improved survival of ovarian cancer but little else has been on the horizon until now.  A new study published this week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute is narrowing in on a genomic analysis that may better predict ovarian cancer response to platinum-based chemotherapy.  One note of caution, this is a very early study and any new clinically available test must await further clinical trials to determine if the test is indeed a good predictor of long-term survival of ovarian cancer and a potential guide for treatment.  But we welcome any and all new research aimed at improving survival of ovarian cancer.

In the meantime, the United State Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) last week once again recommended against routine ovarian cancer screening for women at average risk for the disease reconfirming that such screening could do more harm that good.  Please note, however, that this recommendation does not apply to high-risk women, including women with BRCA mutations.  Required screenings for high-risk women are fully discussed in chapter 13 of Positive Results.

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1 comment:

  1. Research is so needed on this Cancer. is holding a special benefit for Ovarian Cancer Research in the Philadelphia area Saturday April 28. We are seeking articles and blogs of survivors, victories, and the pain to help build awareness and support to end this dreadful disease. You can sign up right on the site to post your articles or contact me with your writing. We are hoping to inform our community of the dangers and Ovarian Cancer's impact on so many lives each year. Thank you for your support.