A new study was released last week supporting the need for personalized tumor testing before treatment begins.
“Researchers sequenced the genes in tumors from 50 breast cancer patients (all with estroen-receptor-positive breast cancer) and identified more than 1,700 mutations, most of which were unique to individual patients.” According to the researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and the Siteman Cancer Center, “These findings help explain why it’s difficult to predict breast cancer patient outcomes & to find new treatments.” This is yet again more evidence as to why two people with the exact same cancer can respond very differently to the exact same treatment regimen and why novel approaches to personalized medicine are so important.
This research study also showed that some genetic mutations that are rare in breast cancer are more common in other cancers. And the drugs used to treat those other cancers may be effective at treating some breast cancer patients with those specific genetic mutations.
According to Dr. Matthew Ellis, a professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, such treatment is only possible “when the cancer’s genetics are known beforehand. The ideal goal is to be able to design treatments by sequencing the tumor genome when a patient’s cancer is first diagnosed.”