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Testing danger; In association with the NHS.

BREAST cancer that is likely to spread can be identified using a simple new test, say scientists.

Experts hope it will help doctors correctly target atrisk patients and spare other women unnecessary treatment.

Surgery is the first line of defence for most women, but additional chemotherapy or radiotherapy is given as a safeguard to patients with higher grade tumours.

Studies show that only 40% of higher grade patients go on to develop metastatic, or spreading, cancer.

The new test is based on the discovery that breast cancer only spreads when a specific trio of cells get together in the same place.

A site with all three cells constitutes a "tumour micro-environment of metastasis" or TMEM.

The test detects the presence and density of TMEMs in breast tissue biopsy samples. A high number of TMEMs means the tumour is likely to metastasise or already has.

The test, by scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, New York, discovered that for every 10-unit increase in TMEM density, the risk of metastatic cancer doubled.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 30, 2009
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