A new study of women who have been diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (D.C.I.S.), may help personalize cancer treatment required by the women.
Over the last eight years researcher in the San Francisco area have collected data on 1,162 women who have been diagnosed with D.C.I.S. in 63 hospitals in the region. They then identified three “biomarkers ” which the breast cancer patients are currently not tested for.
These bio markers called p16, COX-2 and Ki67 increased the individual risk of D.C.I.S. developing into cancer by 20% in women who tested positive for them in the next eight years. When all the markers were negative there was only a 4% risk in the women of developing invasive cancer. In the study conducted about 28% of the women fell in the high risk category.
Dr Karla Kerlikowske, professor of medicine, epidemiology and biostatistics at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the university said, “At this point in time we’re probably overtreating people and undertreating people. If we can define a woman’s risk a little better, then we can personalize what they want to do.”
Dr Susan Love, clinical professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles said, “It’s a great study and a good example of how we can decrease overtreatment by identifying markers which can tell us which lesions are the good ones versus which are likely to become invasive and deserve more aggressive treatment.”
Typically a woman who is diagnosed with D.C.I.S. get lumpectomy and radiation or mastectomy done. As per the new study, if the three biomarkers are not positive it may be possible for the women to avoid such a harsh and aggressive treatment line in the future.
Dr. Jennifer Litton, assistant professor in the department of breast medical oncology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center said “This is not practice changing but it’s certainly very exciting to start to give us more clues as to what might be the underlying biology of less aggressive or more aggressive tumors.”
The study is limited by its size and also by the fact that the women studied received only lumpectomies, but with more investigation new ways to identify and use the biomarkers will help women diagnosed with D.C.I.S. in the future.