Solid Tumors

Tumors have been classified historically based on their morphologic resemblance to normal tissue types. Microar-ray analysis has been applied to many types of solid tumors, including several studies involving breast cancer specimens. Perou et al.17 explored expression-based breast cancer classification by studying 65 breast adenocarcinomas from 42 patients. Hierarchical cluster analysis defined three separate subtypes in this highly heterogeneous tumor class, based on patterns of gene expression. One subtype was known (HER2/NEU/ERBB2 positive), and two others were previously unknown (luminal-like and basal-like). The clinical significance of the two novel cancer subsets has not been established. In a subsequent study of 78 independent tumors, clustering with the gene list from the first study identified similar patient subclasses, which then were found to be statistically significantly associated with differences in overall patient survival and relapse-free survival.18

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