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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Signal Detection

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, with nearly 1.7 million new cases diagnosed in 2012 and a five year prevalence of 6.23 million. About 400,000 cases per year take place in Europe, 315,000 in the US and 460,000 in the rest of the world (1). This represents about 12% of all new cancer cases and 25% of all cancers in women.

There are three major types of breast cancer, characterised by the presence of key biomarkers: oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2). A fourth type, characterised by the lack of all three biomarkers, is informally known as triple-negative.

However, there is another type of breast cancer, which is very aggressive, extremely difficult to diagnose at presentation and ‘hidden’ among ER, PR, HER2 and triple-negative expressing tumours. It used to be referred to as the ‘aggressive type’ and has only recently been named basal-like breast cancer (BLBC) (2-4) (see Figure 1).

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Dr Partha S Ray obtained his MD degree from Drexel University College of Medicine, US. He went on to complete surgical residency training in the US, followed by a surgical oncology fellowship at the John Wayne Cancer Institute, US. He is currently Professor and Head of Surgical Oncology at HCG Oncology, India.

Dr Roberto Fagnani has a PhD in pharmacology from the University of Milano, Italy. He has academic experience at The National Cancer Institute, US, and the University of California, US. Roberto gained industry experience at Hybritech and Eli Lilly & Co, has had multiple advisory roles at various biotechnology companies and Venture Capital firms and has co-founded three ventures.

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Dr Partha S Ray
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Dr Roberto Fagnani
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