In a nutshell
This study looked at subtypes of breast cancer in women before chemotherapy and after chemotherapy to determine if the treatment can affect the subtype of the cancer.
The authors found that the subtype changed in some patients after chemotherapy.
Breast cancer is classified into types based on the receptors that are expressed by the tumor. Cancer cells that have the estrogen receptor on them are called ER+, and cancer cells that have the progesterone receptor on them are called PR+. Together, these are called the hormone receptors, and a cancer cell that has both of these is called hormone receptor positive, or HR+. The other receptor that cancer cells can have on them is called Herceptin 2 receptor, or HER2. Breast cancer cells can be HER2+ or HER2-. The type of receptors present on cancer cells will affect the type of treatment used. It is not known if the type of cancer can change during treatment.
Methods & findings
This study consisted of 52 patients with breast cancer. The types of cancer were determined before treatment. After treatment, the patients were tested to see if any cancer remained, and if so, the cancer was tested again to find out the type.
Of the 52 patients, 23 had no signs of cancer after treatment (42.6%). Signs of cancer remained in 31 patients (57.2%). Of these, 5 had a change in tumor subtype seen (16.1%).
The bottom line
The study concluded that it is possible for breast cancer subtypes to change before and after chemotherapy treatment.
The fine print
This study was very small with only 52 patients. There could have been errors in testing which may have affected results.
For those being treated for breast cancer, it may be helpful to keep the results of this study in mind.
Published By :
Annals of Surgical Oncology
Jul 06, 2018
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