The effectiveness of breast cancer treatment could be more accurately assessed by positron emission tomography (Pet) scans, a recent study has found.
Scientists have established that by using Pet and a radioactive compound specifically developed for the procedure, they can track the appearance of the protein HER2.
Often apparent in cases of aggressive breast cancer, HER2 can be evaluated both before and after intervention to establish whether the treatment has been effective.
Jacek Capala, senior author of the study and investigator for the radiation oncology branch of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, commented: "Obtaining an accurate assessment of the HER2 expression levels in breast cancer tumors is absolutely essential to know whether treatment aimed at reduction of the protein levels in tumor cells is effective."
He added that by continuing research into the role of the HER2 protein, treatments for other forms of cancer may eventually be developed.
In other news, researchers at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncologicas in Madrid have identified a single-nucleotide polymorphism, which indicates a greater susceptibility to developing a certain type of breast cancer.