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Researchers facilitate more precise breast cancer diagnoses

Researchers at the University of Zurich have developed an imaging approach that allows breast cancer tissue to be studied in greater detail. This increases the accuracy of tumor analysis and, as a result, facilitates personalized treatment as well.

Biomarkers create a tumor’s cellular landscape.
Biomarkers create a tumor’s cellular landscape. Image credit: Bernd Bodenmiller / UZH

In breast cancer patients, the cell types may vary to a significant degree even within the same tumor. Precise diagnoses and accurate prognoses regarding the progression of the disease are therefore difficult, as the University of Zurich (UZH) states in a press release. However, a more detailed insight into the breast cancer tissue could increase the chances of successful treatment.

Researchers at UZH have now developed a new imaging method, which depicts breast cancer tissue in much greater detail than the current pathological classification allows. To this end, the researchers work with high-resolution images of tissue sections, enabling them simultaneously visualize and analyze information from numerous biomarkers. In the study, the researchers quantified 35 protein biomarkers in approximately 350 breast cancer patients. This created an unprecedented view of a tumor’s cellular landscape and the surrounding tissue”, explains Jana Fischer, co-first author of the study.

The method has allowed the researchers to subdivide the four breast cancer categories into numerous subcategories with varying degrees of risk. By improving our ability to describe cellular features and categories as well as our ability to precisely identify patients that have high or low risk breast cancer, we’re opening up new possibilities for precision medicine”, commented Bernd Bodenmiller, a Professor at UZH.

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