Cambridge University Professor Antonis Antoniou, leading a team of scientists, has recently published a study in the acclaimed journal Genetics in Medicine, which could lead to the development of a tool assess the risk of breast cancer in women.
The study is titled “BOADICEA: a comprehensive breast cancer risk prediction model incorporating genetic and non genetic risk factors,” and it’s name stands for the Breast and Ovarian Analysis of Disease Incidence and Carrier Estimation Algorithm.
The tool is based on an algorithmic model and will hopefully help determine early on whether or not screening is needed, taking into consideration of the genetic, familial, and lifestyle data to determine the level of risk for the individual.
“If the calculator works well, it could lead to more of those at risk being identified early, when they could be successfully treated,” and “it would also mean that breast cancer screening, through mammograms, could be more accurately targeted,” Dr Antoniou agreed, adding that they are hoping general practitioners in the UK will begin testing the tool as of this year.
“We hope this means more people can be diagnosed early and survive their disease for longer, but more research and trials are needed before we will fully understand how this could be used,” Dr. Antoniou later told The Guardian.
“This is the first time that anyone has combined so many elements into one breast cancer prediction tool, that should help doctors to tailor the care they provide depending on their patients’ level of risk. For example, some women may need additional appointments with their doctor to discuss screening or prevention options and others may just need advice on their lifestyle and diet.”
At this stage the team is positive that this more comprehensive model should enable high levels of breast cancer risk stratification in the general population and women with family history. This method would be beneficial in the sense that women themselves would be more able to decide whether or not to be screened at all if their risk is very low if they are well-informed or if they have concerns about false positive results by facilitating individualised data.
Meanwhile, the initial risk model which previously tested for the cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, CHEK2, and ATM has now been updated to include common genetic risk factors for breast cancer,” GenomeWeb.com reported.