Genetic test checks aggressivity of nervous system cancer

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nervous system cancerHeidelberg - A new genetic test helps doctors better predict the progression of neuroblastoma in children, the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg said. Neuroblastoma is the most common solid cancer in infancy and childhood outside the head and brain. Of 100,000 children up to age 14 between one and three die of neurobastoma.

The type of cancer, which is marked by malignant growths in the nervous system, progresses in different ways. In 10 per cent of the cases, tumours shrink even after metasteses have begun forming. In other cases the patients die despite intensive treatment.

Researchers at the German Cancer Research Centre and the University of Cologne have developed a method based on the genetic activity of the tumour cells that rates the aggressiveness of the neuroblastoma at the time of diagnosis.
The accuracy of the prediction made from the first test is about 93 per cent. The new method allows the filtering out of patients who would not have been treated according to existing categorization and who would have faced the malignant progression of the disease.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency

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