(HealthDay News) — Next-generation sequencing (NGS) could significantly impact breast cancer services in the near future, according to a review published online March 27 in the British Journal of Surgery.

Simon M. Pilgrim, MD, from the University of Cambridge in the UK, and colleagues conducted a literature review to identify studies relating to breast cancer genetics. These studies informed conclusions of how NGS might change breast cancer practice.

The researchers found that, by utilizing NGS, breast cancer clinicians will know whether their patients carry high-risk mutations in genes, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2, before the start of treatment. This knowledge could affect treatment decisions, including opting for mastectomy instead of breast-conserving surgery or for bilateral rather than unilateral surgery.

“The introduction of NGS will have a significant impact on breast cancer services in the near future,” the authors write. “Speed of testing will improve in regions of the world where NGS is adopted in place of conventional sequencing, and, as costs decrease, genetic testing will also become accessible and realistic in less well funded health economies. This will create opportunities to improve patient treatment and challenges for the breast cancer multidisciplinary team.”

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