Breast Cancer Cell
Breast Cancer Cell Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have developed a new test that can accurately diagnose seven types of breast cancer. 

The new test that works by identifying 10 proteins in tumour samples is expected to help provide the best suitable treatments for each type of breast cancer, thus improving the chances of survival, BBC reported.

The tests presently available, diagnose breast cancer by identifying only two biomarkers, proteins oestrogen receptor (ER) and HER2.  

Scientists at the University of Nottingham collected 1,073 tumour samples from a tissue bank and analysed signature biomarkers of different types of cancer in them. Majority of the tumour samples (93 percent) belonged to at least one of seven classes of breast cancer. However, the scientists couldn't categorise the rest as they possessed different features.

Effectiveness of the test was re-confirmed on a second group of 28 tumour samples, Daily Mail reported.

 Dr Andy Green and colleagues said that the test works by measuring the levels of 10 proteins and their different combinations found in breast cancer cells. Apart from ER and HER2, the proteins identified include p53, cytokeratins, HER3 and HER4.

The findings published in the British Journal of Cancer are expected to improve breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

"With an increasing number of treatment options available for breast cancer patients, decision making regarding the choice of the most appropriate treatment method is becoming increasingly complex. Improvements in care and outcome for patients with breast cancer will involve improved targeting of effective therapies to appropriate patients," Dr Green told Daily Mail. "Equally important should be improvement in parallel strategies to avoid unnecessary or inappropriate treatment and side effects."

The new tumour test will be available within the next two years.

Last year, an international team of researchers classified breast cancer to 10 different categories. Researchers from the BC Cancer Agency and University of British Columbia based the classification on the genetic fingerprint of a tumour. Though the breast cancer classification can help improve the selection of treatment for each types of breast cancer, the procedure is expensive.