The newly discovered gene shows whether the breast tumour is susceptible for radiation therapy or not. For women with this particular gene profile the decision can instead be taken to operate away the whole breast, according to a report by Sveriges Radio’s Ekot news programme.
Normal procedure when treating breast cancer is to partially remove the breast through surgery and then treat with radiation therapy.
But for around 500 women per annum the therapy has no effect, which leaves the risk that the tumour will return – a so-called relapse.
Researchers now hope that with the help of the new gene profile women who do not respond to radiation therapy can be identified in advance.
“We know that if we cut the rate of relapse then we also know that we can cut mortality in the longer term,” Emma Niméus at the Oncology Clinic at Lund University Hospital told Ekot.
Studies around the new gene profile must however be completed before the method can be used within healthcare.
Every year around 7,000 women in Sweden are diagnosed with breast cancer and 1,500 die from the condition.