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Breast Cancer Res. 2000;2(6):430-5. Epub 2000 Jul 21.

Molecular biology of breast cancer metastasis. The use of mathematical models to determine relapse and to predict response to chemotherapy in breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Northwestern University Medical School, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois 60611-3010, USA.


Breast cancer mortality rates have shown only modest improvement despite the advent of effective chemotherapeutic agents which have been administered to a large percentage of women with breast cancer. In an effort to improve breast cancer treatment strategies, a variety of mathematical models have been developed that describe the natural history of breast cancer and the effects of treatment on the cancer. These models help researchers to develop, quantify, and test various treatment hypotheses quickly and efficiently. The present review discusses several of these models, with a focus on how they have been used to predict the initiation time of metastatic growth, the effect of operative therapy on the growth of metastases, and the optimal administration strategy for chemotherapy.

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