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vol.103 issue8Breast cancer clinicopathological presentation, gravity and challenges in Eritrea, East Africa: Management practice in a resource-poor setting author indexsubject indexarticles search
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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


GRANT, K A et al. MammaPrint Pre-screen Algorithm (MPA) reduces chemotherapy in patients with early-stage breast cancer. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2013, vol.103, n.8, pp.522-525. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND: Clinical and pathological parameters may overestimate the need for chemotherapy in patients with early-stage breast cancer. More accurate determination of the risk of distant recurrence is now possible with use of genetic tests, such as the 70-gene MammaPrint profile. OBJECTIVES: A health technology assessment performed by a medical insurer in 2009 introduced a set of test eligibility criteria - the MammaPrint Pre-screen Algorithm (MPA) - applied in this study to determine the clinical usefulness of a pathology-supported genetic testing strategy, aimed at the reduction of healthcare costs. METHODS: An implementation study was designed to take advantage of the fact that the 70-gene profile excludes analysis of hormone receptor and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status, which form part of the MPA based partly on immunohistochemistry routinely performed in all breast cancer patients. The study population consisted of 104 South African women with early-stage breast carcinoma referred for MammaPrint. For the MammaPrint test, RNA was extracted from 60 fresh tumours (in 58 patients) and 46 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples. RESULTS: When applying the MPA for selection of patients eligible for MammaPrint testing, 95 of the 104 patients qualified. In this subgroup 62% (59/95) were classified as low risk. Similar distribution patterns for risk classification were obtained for RNA extracted from fresh tumours v. FFPE tissue samples. CONCLUSIONS: The 70-gene profile classifies approximately 40% of early-stage breast cancer patients as low-risk compared with 15% using conventional criteria. In comparison, more than 60% were shown to be low risk with use of the MPA validated in this study as an appropriate strategy to prevent chemotherapy overtreatment in patients with early-stage breast cancer.

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