Using clinical characteristics and tumor genomic information together offer a more precise assessment of clinical outcomes, according to study in JAMA.

Combining breast cancer patients’ clinical characteristics with a genomic profile of their tumors may provide important information for predicting an individual patient’s prognosis and accurately guiding treatment options, according researchers from Duke University.

From previous studies, the team knew that Adjuvant!, a computerized system for assessing cancer risks, tends to overestimate disease recurrence in younger patients. They hypothesized that genomic profiling could be a complementary tool that would more precisely define clinical outcomes and could also help in selecting the right drug for a given patient.

The investigators looked at almost 1,000 breast tumor samples and corresponding patient data and used Adjuvant! to assess clinical characteristics and thus make predictions of recurrence. By then comparing gene expression in these tumor samples, the scientists were able to see specific genomic patterns among patients with aggressive cancers and those whose cancers were less likely to recur.

By using the clinical and genomic tools together and cross-comparing data, the researchers were able to not only say that a particular patient has a high risk of recurrence but they could be more specific. For example, they could predict that a particular patient was 90% likely to see their cancer recur.

The findings appear in the April 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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