Developing Early Detection for Breast Cancer
Bonnie L. King, Ph.D.,Associate Research Scientist in Therapeutic Radiology
The benefits of early breast cancer detection are clearly illustrated by reduced mortality associated with mammographic screening in postmenopausal women. However, women at high risk for breast cancer, particularly breast cancer recurrence, would benefit from more sensitive measures of detection. Research by Dr. King focused on the development of a new approach for breast cancer screening that involves the analysis of cells regularly shed from the breast.
Highlighted Study Findings
Dr. King’s research focused on the use of ductal lavage, a minimally invasive procedure, as a method of collecting routinely shed breast duct cells to detect early changes associated with the development of breast cancer. Her results showed that this procedure holds the promise of early detection of cell abnormalities that indicate risk for breast cancer. Her previous work showed that the method is safe, well tolerated, and able to detect early abnormalities in high-risk women. Building upon this initial research, Dr. King’s Program-funded investigation resulted in preliminary identification of genetic abnormalities that may indicate an increased probability of a cell becoming cancerous. The study showed that the intraductal approach offered a new dimension for early detection of breast cancer and risk assessment for breast cancer.