In contrast to most other major solid cancers, progress in the development, validation and clinical use of biomarkers in the prevention and treatment setting of breast cancer is impressive. In the field of prevention, the lives of women at very high risk of developing hereditary breast ovarian cancer syndrome can be saved by BRCA testing, before the clinical evidence of the syndrome, and with appropriate prophylactic surgery. In the field of treatment after diagnosis, estrogen-receptor (ER) and HER2 overexpression have established as biomarkers for tailoring tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors in ER+ tumors and trastuzumab for HER+ disease. Despite these advances, a remarkable percentage of ER+/HER+ patients recur while for ER-/HER2-negative disease, no robust additional marker and targeted therapy exists, apart of chemotherapy. As a result recurrence and treatment failure is considerable and still the rate of patients who die from the disease still remains high.
(Citation: Gastric & Breast Cancer 2011; 10(2): 123-130)
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