Breast Cancer Test: Spreading to the Brain

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A test may one day predict whether women with particularly aggressive forms of breast cancer will have it spread to their brain.

From an analysis of nearly 4,000 breast cancer patients, researchers focused on 141 whose breast cancer had spread to the brain.

They tested for high activity of one particular gene called alpha beta-crystallin and found those who tested positive for high activity of this gene were three times more likely to have their cancer spread first to their brain.

A further analysis of those scores found that activity was also linked to a significantly higher risk of death.

The test needs further development before it will be ready for routine clinical use but the team says this could become the first use of this type of test.

To identify opportunities for women with specific breast cancer types to enter clinical trials for new treatments.

The study was funded by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research UK and the Canadian Breast Cancer foundation and the findings appear in the journal ‘NPJ Breast Cancer.’ 

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