Dr Eileen Rakovitch Outlines Use of Biomarkers to Treat Breast Cancer

December 13, 2019

Using biomarker tests can help personalize care for women with ductal carcinoma in situ and determine the risks of using or not using radiation, said Eileen Rakovitch, MD, MSc, FRCPC, professor, department of radiation oncology, University of Toronto.

Using biomarker tests can help personalize care for women with ductal carcinoma in situ and determine the risks of using or not using radiation, said Eileen Rakovitch, MD, MSc, FRCPC, professor, department of radiation oncology, University of Toronto.

Transcript

What benefits would personalized radiotherapy provide for women undergoing treatment after breast-conserving surgery for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)? And what role do biomarkers play in improving patient care?

The benefit for women in having a biomarker tests, such as the Oncotype DCIS score, is it is the first test that provides what we refer to as individualized estimates. So, for a given woman with DCIS, who's had surgery, a sample of her tumor is sent, and the DCIS score measured. Integrated with that is the size of the lesion in her as well as her age at the time of diagnosis. And all that is integrated to give her an individualized personalized estimate of her risk of recurrence within the breast without radiation treatment, and then that can better inform her of what that benefit of radiation would be.

So, the benefit to women and doctors. The benefit to women is to have individualized and more accurate—this is the most accurate measure of what the recurrence risk is without radiation, what the benefit might be with radiation, so that doctors and women can together weigh the risks and benefits and use that to guide the decision whether or not to accept treatment.

So, I think it's twofold. One is, I believe that more women can be spared radiation treatment when we integrate the genomic score. And women can be better informed that if they have a higher risk, and they decide to have treatment, they can be more satisfied with that decision because they know…more accurately what the benefits will be.