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Pioneering Test Predicts Recurrence and Survival Rates in Breast Cancer Patients

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 02 Oct 2023
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Image: The MAF Test supports informed decisions from pathologists for delivering personalized treatments (Photo courtesy of Inbiomotion)
Image: The MAF Test supports informed decisions from pathologists for delivering personalized treatments (Photo courtesy of Inbiomotion)

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women and continues to be the top cause of cancer-related deaths among them globally. Roughly one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, and out of these, 15-20% will go on to develop metastases. The main culprit behind most fatalities is not the original tumor but its metastatic spread. This makes it crucial to identify patients at a higher risk of recurrence in order to tailor their treatment to improve both their survival chances and quality of life. Now, a new test can provide insights into the prognosis of breast cancer patients. This test aids doctors in identifying those patients who can potentially avoid recurrence and could benefit from supplemental treatment with bisphosphonates, drugs typically used for osteoporosis. The test also flags patients for whom bisphosphonate treatment could be detrimental.

Inbiomotion (Barcelona, Spain) has developed the MAF-TEST after identifying the MAF gene as a key marker for predicting bone metastasis in breast cancer. The diagnostic kit is designed to detect amplification of the MAF gene, allowing for personalized treatment plans for breast cancer patients. The MAF gene plays a vital role, especially in triggering bone metastasis. It regulates a number of cellular processes including cell survival, initiation of metastasis, metabolic changes, and the tumor’s ability to adhere to bone marrow-derived cells. It even influences the formation of osteoclasts, cells that remodel bone. About 20% of breast cancer patients were found to have an amplified MAF gene. Moreover, the presence or absence of this amplified MAF gene significantly alters the response to bisphosphonate treatment in patients with non-metastatic breast cancer, thereby directly affecting their chances of survival.

For oncologists treating breast cancer, the MAF Test offers a groundbreaking addition to their toolkit. It helps identify which patients are more prone to recurrence and could benefit from early alternative treatments. This facilitates a more tailored healthcare strategy, shifting the focus from short-term measures to long-term survival and well-being. It aids in making more informed decisions that could substantially affect the patient's lifespan. Overall, the MAF Test can prove to be an invaluable asset for improving patient outcomes.

"We have described and developed a new test that provides accurate selection criteria for adjuvant bisphosphonate therapy, improving the clinical outcome of breast cancer patients and excluding those who do not benefit,” said Prof. Roger Gomis, co-founder of Inbiomotion. “It is a biomarker that is easy to implement in any clinical pathology laboratory and we believe it should be routine in breast cancer characterization."

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