[MOL] Protein may predict breast cancer survival [02388] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Protein may predict breast cancer survival

Protein may predict breast cancer survival
    [03/30/2000; Reuters News Service]

NEW YORK, Mar 29 (Reuters Health) -- Measuring levels of a protein
involved with the growth of blood vessels may help predict how
a woman's breast cancer will respond to treatment as well as
her overall survival, according to a new report.To see whether
cancer has spread from the breast, lymph nodes under the arm
often are tested for signs of cancer. But testing nodes may not
yield an accurate prognosis, so additional ways of determining
the likelihood of survival are needed, according to a team of
researchers led by Dr. Barbro Linderholm, of Umea University
in Sweden. 

The body uses vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) to stimulate
the growth of new blood vessels, and tumors must produce blood
vessels in order to grow. The investigators suspected that high
levels of VEGF might mean that a woman has a more aggressive
form of cancer. In a previous report, Linderholm and colleagues
had shown that VEGF levels are a good predictor of a woman's
overall survival odds. In the April issue of the Journal of Clinical
Oncology, the researchers report that in women with breast cancer
whose lymph nodes test positive for cancer, higher VEGF levels
appear to signal poorer overall survival odds. These women were
also less likely to survive, even if they were given medication
such as tamoxifen, an anti-estrogen drug, or chemotherapy. The
study included 362 women with node-positive breast cancer, who
were followed for an average of almost 5 years.

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