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Test for Tiny Cancers
Breast cancer surgeons can now use a genetic test that may detect even the tiniest metastases, thereby helping patients stay ahead of their disease. In July the FDA approved GeneSearch Breast Lymph Node Assay, which detects cancer genes that may be hiding out in the main, or sentinel, lymph node into which a breast tumor drains.
The new technology should make it possible to miss fewer cases of invasive cancer, says Pat W. Whitworth, M.D., director of the Nashville Breast Center and a member of the research team. The enhanced sensitivity will offer “a much truer indication of what is going on with the patient,” he adds.
Robert L. Becker Jr., a division director within the FDA’s Office of In Vitro Diagnostic Device Evaluation and Safety, agrees and calls the new technique “an incremental advance in assessment of sentinel lymph node biopsies.”