A Dartmouth study suggests that it may be possible to use Diffuse Optical Spectroscopic Tomographic imaging (DOST) to predict which patients will best respond to chemotherapy used to shrink breast cancer tumors before surgery. These findings could eliminate delays in effective early treatment for tumors unlikely to respond to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC).

The study, “Predicting breast tumor response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy with Diffuse Optical Spectroscopic Tomography prior to treatment,” was published online in Clinical Cancer Research on October 7, 2014. Breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in women worldwide, and the second leading cause of women’s cancer mortality in the United States. A common treatment strategy after diagnosis is to shrink breast cancer tumors larger than 3 centimeters with a 6- to 8-month course of NAC prior to surgery.

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