Cancer Study Unlocks Clues to Who Lives, Who Dies

Breakthrough helps docs decide treatment
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2009 8:09 AM CST
Model Paloma Lago attends the launch of the Ausonia Campaign Against Breast Cancer.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – A new discovery may help predict whether a woman with breast cancer is more likely to live or die, reports Reuters. The breakthrough may help doctors make vital decisions about which patients should be treated the most aggressively. Researchers discovered patients were more likely to survive the disease if they had certain networks of proteins in their cancerous tumors not found in other patients.

Tracking these protein interactions enabled them to accurately predict in 82% of patients whether their cancer would ultimately be fatal. "We approached cancer as a problem in how proteins communicate with each other," said one of the scientists. "It could help to direct the appropriate therapies for individual patients."
(Read more breast cancer stories.)