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Breast cancer patients who have had tumors removed usually also receive radiotherapy. Unfortunately, some patients experience side effects from the radiation. Now a research team from Sahlgrenska Academy and Sahlgrenska University Hospital has shown that it is possible to see who really needs radiation and who can forego the treatment without risk.
The researchers developed a gene profile, Polar, which can show who benefits from radiotherapy. The gene profile contains 16 genes which, among other things, control functions within the immune system and cell division rate.
The researchers have conducted three independent clinical trials in which Polar has shown which patients do not need to undergo radiation treatment.
"The data show that patients with a low value of the Polar gene profile manage with as low a risk of local recurrence as those who receive radiotherapy. As treatment can have negative side effects, it is important to clinically determine and identify patients where radiotherapy is not needed," says Per Karlsson, professor of oncology at Sahlgrenska Comprehensive Cancer Centre, in a press release.
More tests will be needed before Polar can be used clinically, but it is hoped that the method will soon be able to eliminate the need for unnecessary radiation treatment.