Tissue Analysis May Help Predict Breast Cancer Outcome
Tissue analysis may help doctors better predict outcomes for women with breast cancer, according to a new study.
Looking at what they call "highways" of connective tissue in breast cancer tumors, researchers found the way collagen fibers are arranged may aid in a patient's diagnosis and help determine treatment.
Researchers analyzed tumor cells from 200 patients with invasive breast cancer. They saw collagen began to behave differently as the tumor grew.
"We think the cancer cells start to pull on the collagen and straighten it out, forming a track or highway on which the cells can migrate," study senior author Patricia Keely, an associate professor of cell and regenerative biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, said in a university news release.
Collagen provides structure for the body and tells cells how to behave. As these collagen highways became more developed, health deteriorated, the study found.
The study could provide a basis for more research in the area.
However, "before any new prognostic test can go into practice it must be extensively validated. This publication is a first step that might trigger additional research to examine the utility of this type of analysis in different settings and by different groups," Dr. Priscilla A. Furth, a professor of oncology and medicine at Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, told Health Day.
"From the basic science perspective, this is an interesting observation and should trigger additional studies," Furth added.