New clues found to understanding relapse in breast cancer
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A large genomic analysis has linked certain DNA mutations to a high risk of relapse in estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, while other mutations were associated with better outcomes, according to researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the Baylor College of Medicine and the University of British Columbia.

The knowledge could help predict which patients are most likely to have their cancer return and spread, and could help guide treatment decisions. It also opens the door to developing more aggressive treatments for patients with the newly identified high-risk mutations.

The study appears Sept. 4 in the journal Nature Communications.

The researchers analyzed tumor samples from more than 2,500 patients with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, one of the most common forms of the disease. These cancer cells have receptors that bind to the hormone estrogen in the nucleus of the cell and drive tumor growth.

More than 266,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer each year, according to the American Cancer Society, and about 70 percent of cases are estrogen receptor positive.

ER positive breast cancer patients have a number of treatment options that block the estrogen receptor to stop

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