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High number of tumour cells may affect breast cancer outcomes

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 26 August 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:476
  1. David Spurgeon
  1. Quebec

    Women with advanced breast cancer who have five or more tumour cells circulating in their blood die sooner than women with fewer such cells, says a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine (2004;351:781-91).

    The study could lead to more tailored treatments that would spare some women the most potent chemotherapy, or conversely, recognise at the start of treatment which patients need more aggressive therapy, says lead author Massimo Cristofanilli, associate professor in the breast medical oncology department at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

    “This is the first time we can actually stratify metastatic breast cancer patients based on their risk,” he says. “Now we may know more …

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