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Oncology Researcher Forecasts Increased Use of Predictive Medicine at NCCN Conference

HOLLYWOOD, Fla., March 27, 2008 — The 21st century will be a time of personalized care for patients with breast cancer where tools such as biomarkers, multi-gene assays and single-gene assays will help clinicians individualize treatment, according to Peter Ravdin, M.D., Ph.D presenting at the NCCN 13th Annual Conference. However, he cautioned, further validation is still necessary to confirm some of the predictive capacities of these tests.

Dr. Ravdin, a research professor in biostatistics at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, explained that, with increasing knowledge of the molecular characteristics of different tumor types in breast cancer, it has now possible to select therapy based on hormone receptor status, HER2 expression and genetic markers. As a result, certain high-risk patients who may benefit from it can be treated aggressively with adjuvant chemotherapy, while low- to intermediate-risk patients may be spared the toxicity and added physical strain of such aggressive treatment. Clinician understanding of these characteristics offers the potential to select therapies based on the individual patient’s risk profile.

Dr. Ravdin predicted that evidence based on large, prospectively done metaanalyses that will soon address the question of the use of single gene assays like HER2 and topoisomerase II. “In this new era, we will be using multi-gene assays and, perhaps, some of the single gene assays. Guidelines are backing such use already. Some uses are well-supported while others are awaiting strong validation,” he said.

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 of the world's leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers. The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives. For more information, visit NCCN.org.

The NCCN Member Institutions are:

  • Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center
  • Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute
  • City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
  • Duke Cancer Institute
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
  • The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
  • Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
  • Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Moffitt Cancer Center
  • The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Stanford Cancer Institute
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
  • UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • University of Colorado Cancer Center
  • University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
  • Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital