Rebecca L. Aft, MD, PhD, from the Siteman Cancer Center, discusses the need to identify markers for patients with micrometastatic disease.
Rebecca L. Aft, MD, PhD, Professor of Surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a physician at Siteman Cancer Center, discusses the need to identify markers for patients with micrometastatic disease.
Aft says that there is a significant portion of patients who have completed conventional chemotherapy and are radiographically and clinically without evidence of disease and will harbor micrometastatic disease. Aft says she envisions a way of identifying these patients with specific markers.
To date, Aft says, researchers have screened over 250 genes associated with breast cancer for expression in normal bone marrow and found that approximately 44 have no expression in normal marrow. If these genes are expressed in bone marrow, it can be deduced that they are associated with breast cancer cells. Aft says that researchers are still working to analyze this panel of genes to determine if they are predictors of the development of metastatic disease.
It appears that seven genes have targeted therapies that predict metastatic disease development, but Aft says this is not confirmed yet.