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Unmasking High-Risk Breast Tumors

A unique genetic signature can alert physicians to high-risk breast tumors that masquerade as low-risk tumors, according to research at the Siteman Cancer Center and collaborating national cancer centers. Although these tumors appear to be estrogen-receptor-positive – meaning they should depend on the hormone estrogen to grow – they don’t respond well to anti-estrogen therapy. “These tumors are like wolves in sheep’s clothing,” says Matthew Ellis, MB, BChir, PhD, a Washington University medical oncologist at Siteman.

A clinical test for the high-risk gene signature will be widely available soon. The test, Ellis says, will help physicians identify women who would benefit from more aggressive treatment suited to this tumor type.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is one of the best tools in the fight against cancer. It can prevent cancerous cells from spreading into normal body tissues and can slow or stop tumor growth. Find out more in this "Cancer Connection" podcast with Dennis Hallahan, MD, chairman of the department of radiation oncology at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

 

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