[MOL] Genetic advances set to transform breast cancer care [01743] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Genetic advances set to transform breast cancer care

Genetic advances set to transform breast cancer care
    [09/28/2000; Reuters News Service]

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Advances in molecular genetics will allow
doctors to construct DNA ``photofits'' of tumors that will transform
the treatment of breast cancer, an American cancer expert predicted
Wednesday. The genetic snapshot will reveal how the tumors are
behaving, how receptors on the cell are reacting and what proteins
are doing, enabling doctors to customize treatment for each woman.
``We already know, for example, which breast tumors are estrogen-dependent
and will respond to hormonal therapies such as anti-estrogens
like tamoxifen,'' said Dr. C. Kent Osborne of Baylor College
of Medicine in Houston.``The best marker for response to hormonal
treatment is the estrogen receptor and about a third to a half
of all breast cancers are estrogen-dependent. ''Osborne told the
European Breast Cancer Conference that the drug tamoxifen,
produced by Swedish Anglo-Dutch drug company AstraZeneca, has
reduced the number of breast cancer deaths and recurrences of
the disease in many countries where its use is widespread. But
Osborne said estrogen receptors are only the beginning
and researchers have already identified other important cancer
markers such as progesterone receptors BcL2 and pS2 and the HER2
gene that seems to promote the growth of cancerous cells.

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