A cutting-edge prognostic tool called MammaPrint, developed by Agendia, a laboratory located in The Netherlands, uses molecular technology to predict whether breast cancer will metastasize, helping clinicians make more accurate management decisions for their patients.
"Clearance of MammaPrint marks a step forward in the initiative to bring molecular-based medicine into current practice," FDA commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach, MD, noted in a public statement following MammaPrint's FDA approval.
Cancer Care & Economics (CC&E) recently spoke with René Bernards, PHD, chief scientific officer of the team that developed this significant new test.
CC&E: Microarray analysis in itself is not new—what scientific application was MammaPrint created to address? What makes it a first-of-its-kind test?
DR. BERNARDS: Agendia decided to use microarray technology instead of other techniques like reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) because it allows the whole genome to be analyzed at once, identifying the most relevant genes to develop a signature. We succeeded in finding the set of genes that was proven to be significant in the prognosis of breast cancer tumor recurrence.
CC&E: What molecular activity does MammaPrint identify as a prognostic factor?
DR. BERNARDS: The 70 genes analyzed in the MammaPrint breast cancer test are genes involved in cell cycle, invasion, metastasis, and angiogenesis.