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Biomarker Test May Spare Breast Cancer Patients

Katherine M. Bennett

By monitoring the levels of a cellular protein and its inhibitor, clinicians may be able to predict which women with node-negative breast cancer do not have to undergo additional chemotherapy to prevent relapse of the disease.

Researchers presented data from a prospective, multicenter trial in Germany at the recent American Association for Cancer Research meeting in San Francisco. About 240 women whose primary tumors had low concentrations of urokinase-type plasminogen activator and its inhibitor, called "PAI-1," received no treatment after surgery.

The researchers determined that, after a median follow-up of 32 months, the women had less than a 10 percent risk of relapse. On the basis of these results, the researchers recommend routine monitoring of the two biomarkers.