A new technique has been developed to predict the likelihood that an individual will survive breast cancer.
Researchers at the University of California found that using an "immune profile", which involves assessing the relative levels of three types of immune cells within a tumour.
This profile can later be used to help guide treatment and determine their chances of survival.
However, the research could go one step further and offer a way of altering this profile, allowing cancer survivors to live longer.
The team found that drugs used in combination with chemotherapy could alter the profile of mice and significantly slow tumour growth, block metastasis and help the rodents live longer.
Professor Lisa Coussens, who led the study, commented: "If our work translates into the clinic, it may improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy in the treatment of certain cancers."
According to Cancer Research UK, breast cancer is the most common cancer in Britain and women have a one in eight risk of being diagnosed with it at some point during their lives.
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Cancer treatment news : 5 April 2011