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Ominous signals: Genes may identify the worst breast cancers

Some women with breast cancer respond well to treatment while others succumb to the disease, even when the cancer in both cases appears to have been caught early and was treated similarly. A growing pool of evidence suggests that the genetic nuances of tumor cells account for the contrasting outcomes.

To turn those genetic traits to medical advantage, several research groups have begun scanning DNA in breast-tumor cells to determine which of thousands of genes are most or least active in aggressive cancers.

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