A new study has reveled that the number of tumor cells circulating in the blood of metastic breast cancer patients does affect their survival, reports BusinessWeek
Previous studies had determined that five or more tumor cells in 7.5 milliliters of blood meant the chance of survival was shorter than those who have less than that number.
Now researchers have determined that the cutoff number of five does not necessarily represent how complex the disease is and how the cells affect a patients prognosis.
"We found that there was a linear relationship between the number of circulating tumor cells and the risk of death in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Most importantly, the risk of death after one year for patients with 40 circulating tumor cells in 7.5ml of blood was about twice that for patients with none," Dr Antonio Giordano said.
This study may help doctors who are looking to implement more personalized treatments, since every individual's body is affected differently.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), 1 in 8 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.