Powerful predictor discovered for aggressive breast cancers will ensure more effective treatment

A new, more powerful predictor for aggressive breast cancers, discovered by Dr Fares Al-Ejeh at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, will give women a more accurate prognosis and ensure they are receiving the most effective treatment for their breast-cancer type.

Every woman’s breast cancer has its own individual gene fingerprint – a specific combination of genes. Dr Al-Ejeh’s research has found new gene “signatures” which can predict likely survival across breast cancer cases.

“This is not just another test. It outperforms current tests and, importantly, will apply to all breast cancers. It can also give a more accurate picture of survival rates in the particularly aggressive sub-sets: triple-negative breast cancer, high grade breast cancer and breast cancer that has spread to lymph nodes,” said Dr Al-Ejeh.

“Breast cancer treatment options have advanced significantly in recent years. Women are being given the best treatments available, based on the knowledge we currently have,” Dr Al-Ejeh said.

“But the accuracy of this test would provide that extra information about the exact nature of the cancer, to make sure women are getting the most effective available treatment, and not receiving unnecessary or ineffective medications.”

Dr Al-Ejeh is confident of converting the discovery into a quick pathology test within the next three years.

These findings have been published in Oncogenesis.