Earlier detection of recurrences is the big hope, said Dr. Jorge Reis-Filho, an attending pathologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. "If changes in DNA happen before changes are seen in imaging," he said, "that could help us be more proactive in treatment."
But, Reis-Filho stressed, that's "crystal-ball gazing" for now.
Lucci said any real-world use of tumor DNA testing is a long way off.
"Number one, we need larger studies to confirm these findings," he said. But beyond that, researchers need to figure out how to do such DNA testing in a simpler, cheaper way, Lucci added.
"Currently, this would be way too expensive and time-consuming," he said. Only some academic cancer centers would have the resources to do this kind of testing as it stands, Lucci noted.
Learn more about metastatic breast cancer from the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network.
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