There are two major North American conferences a year where advances in clinical breast cancer research are showcased. The first is the San Antonio Breast Conference, which happens each December. The second is the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which occurs each June. Some years, breakthrough research and landmark presentations are showcased, but this years’ San Antonio conference was pretty tame. Some updates on previously discussed clinical trials , some news on the two drugs for breast cancer that will likely be approved in 2007 ( avastin and lapatanib ), but no major breakthroughs. But this one item struck me as fairly interesting…. A company called Veridex has a product called GeneSearch BLN Assay that will improve the accuracy of sentinel node biopsy. Sentinel lymph node biopsy is a technique that allows localization of the sentinel, or major draining lymph node via an intraoperative technique. Click on the link for an image of a sentinel node biopsy . If the se...
More things to look for on your pathology report - my last post on pathology reports covered histology, margins and grade. Other important things a pathologist will consider:
Size of the Breast Cancer (Measured in cm)
This is somewhat an approximation of the size in diameter of a three dimensional tumor - looking for the widest point. Breast cancer can sometimes be shaped oddly - think of a bow turned on itself in which case it would look like two separate focuses of cancer - the skillful pathologist will comment on the actual size and whether the cancer is one site "focus" or many sites (multifocal). The smaller the size of the cancer, the better.
Lymph Nodes (Sentinel and Other)
The most important prognostic feature of breast cancer is still felt to be the involvement of lymph nodes with cancer - the # of involved lymph nodes and some features of lymph node involvement being key.
The sentinel lymph node(s) is/are the "draining" lymph nodes from th...
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