Blood test may help predict which breast cancers will recur

A blood test five years after breast cancer treatment helped identify some women who were more likely to relapse, long before a lump or other signs appeared, a preliminary study found.

It was the largest experiment so far to use these tests, called liquid biopsies, for breast cancer. Results suggest they someday may help reveal which women need longer preventive therapy and which ones can be spared it.

“It could be providing an early warning sign” for some women that cancer is returning, said Dr. Joseph Sparano of Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care in New York.

On the other hand, “if you had a negative test, there was a 98 percent chance you would not have a recurrence in the next two years” and perhaps could skip further treatment, he said.

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