Using artificial intelligence (AI), researchers have distinguished five types of breast cancer, which were earlier lumped into one.
Our study has shown that AI can recognise patterns in breast cancer that are beyond the limit of the human eye, and to point us to new avenues of treatment among those who have stopped responding to standard hormone therapies, said EHIUE
The researchers previously used AI in the same way to uncover five different types of bowel cancer and oncologists are now evaluating their application in clinical trials.
The aim is to apply the AI algorithm to many types of cancer -- and to provide information for each about their sensitivity to treatment, likely paths of evolution and how to combat drug resistance.
The majority of breast cancers develop in the inner cells that line the mammary ducts and are 'fed' by the hormones oestrogen or progesterone. These are classed as 'luminal A' tumours and often have the best cure rates.
However, patients within these groups respond very differently to standard-of-care treatments, such as tamoxifen, or new treatments -- needed if patients relapse -- such as immunotherapy.
The researchers applied the AI-trained computer software to a vast array of data available on the genetics, molecular and cellular make-up of primary luminal A breast tumours, along with data on patient survival.
Once trained, the AI was able to identify five different types of disease with particular patterns of response to treatment.