RICHMOND, Va., May 17 (UPI) -- An immunity biomarker may predict a breast cancer patient's risk of cancer recurrence, Virginia researchers say.
Masoud Manjili, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center, and colleagues say the breakthrough may lead to new genetic testing.
"We know that the body initiates an immune response when it detects cancer, and immune system cells are usually present at the site of the tumor," Manjili says in a statement. "Our test differs from currently-used tests by looking for a biological response to the presence of cancer, and not relying on genes expressed by the actual cancer cells."
The study, published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, found a specific, five-gene signature related to tumor infiltrating immune cells can accurately predict relapse-free survival.
"We studied data from 17 patients. Of these patients, we had eight that relapsed within five years and nine that have remained cancer-free up to seven years," Manjili says.
The five-gene signature predicted relapse in the patients with more than 85 percent accuracy, the study says.