Know your risk of cancer recurrence and likelihood of benefit from anti-estrogen therapy beyond year 5
Accurately assessing the risk of your cancer returning provides an important piece of information to help guide you and your doctor’s treatment decisions. Of equal importance is knowing if you are likely to benefit from a particular drug therapy intended to help prevent recurrence. Since breast cancer is not a five year disease, recurrence is measured across two time intervals; early (0-5 years after diagnosis) and late (5+ years after diagnosis).
At diagnosis, women with breast cancer are typically classified as having a “high,” “intermediate” or “low” potential for recurrence, based on a number of clinical and pathological factors such as the size and aggressiveness of the tumor. Tests intended to inform likelihood of benefit from chemotherapy are routinely used and have helped many physicians and patients select a treatment path (e.g., anti-estrogen medication or chemotherapy plus anti-estrogen medication).
Recently, multiple clinical trials (~20,000 women) have demonstrated that a small percentage (3-5%) of patients are likely to benefit if oral anti-estrogen medication is taken continuously for an additional five years (for a total of ten years). Breast Cancer Index (or BCI) is a new test to help determine if you are likely to benefit from an additional five years of anti-estrogen medication. BCI can also provide additional clarity around the risk of cancer returning between 5-10 years after diagnosis.
BCI requires no additional procedure for you. The test is run on the very same tumor specimen that was removed at diagnosis. BCI provides results that may help you and your doctor customize your treatment path.