‘With Advances In Science, Treating Breast Cancer Isn't As Frightening As It Might Have Been Earlier'
Express Healthcare|November 2018
‘With Advances In Science, Treating Breast Cancer Isn't As Frightening As It Might Have Been Earlier'

OncoStem Diagnostics has launched CanAssist-Breast,a test which can reportedly predict the likelihood of cancer returning by analysing samples of a patient’s tumour through a machine learning-based algorithm.Dr Manjiri Bakre,CEO & Founder,OncoStem Diagnostics,reveals how the test can revolutionise breast cancer treatment,help avoid chemotherapy for low-risk patients and prevent breast cancer recurrence with personalised treatment protocols, in an exclusive interview with Lakshmipriya Nair

Lakshmipriya Nair

How does CanAssist breast make the diagnosis of breast cancer recurrence more accurate and affordable? CanAssist breast from OncoStem Diagnostics is a test that can spare early-stage breast cancer patients from chemotherapy by accurately predicting the risk of recurrence.

Each year about 1,50,000 women are detected with breast cancer in India. A majority (~95 per cent) of early stage (Stage 1 &2) breast cancer patients get chemotherapy to avoid cancer recurrence. Currently, there is minimal awareness about tests that predict the risk of cancer recurrence. As a result, patients with low risk of recurrence are often overtreated and consequently bear various toxic effects of chemotherapy treatment that reduces their quality of life. The benefit that early-stage patients receive from chemotherapy is usually low. Since most early-stage patients do well without chemotherapy, this makes accurate risk prediction an all-important prerequisite for effective treatment. It is therefore necessary to detect low-risk instances to avoid overtreatment in the form of chemotherapy, given its side effects and the toll it takes on the patients’ quality of life.

With all the advances in science, treating breast cancer isn’t as frightening as it might have been earlier. Today, not all women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer need to undergo chemotherapy. OncoStem’s CanAssist-Breast is designed to classify patients depending on the risk of cancer recurrence. By analysing the patient’s tumour biology, CanAssist-Breast identifies ‘low-risk’ patients who will have minimal benefit of adding chemotherapy to their treatment and ‘high-risk’ patients who will benefit the most by adding it.

CanAssist-Breast test provides additional information about the tumour by looking at the expression of proteins present in it. Along with the existing pathology report, CanAssist-Breast can help identify the likelihood of the cancer returning postsurgery and whether the patient is likely to benefit from adding chemotherapy to her treatment. It is important to remember that each patient is different and there is a chance they will not have to undergo chemotherapy at all.

CanAssist breast provides information about tumours, which is otherwise unavailable from standard tests. Since the test looks at critical information pertaining to the tumour, it helps doctors design custom-made treatment plans.

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November 2018