Pathologist pens medical mystery | Adapting breast cancer risk scores for men | Hematology market overview

Dear LabPulse Member,

In the U.S., the Thanksgiving break approaches, and with it comes time for R&R and catching up on reading.

You may want to check out the new medical/mystery fiction book the Queen of All Poisons by Dr. Barbarajean Magnani, PhD, a professor of anatomic and clinical pathology at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. I'm a big mystery fan and recently read the book and interviewed the author in person.

Today, we published a feature based on the interview and book, which revolves around Dr. Lily Robinson, an expert in toxicology who works for the U.S. government as an assassin using homegrown poisons, on top of maintaining her clinical practice.

Recent clinical news includes a report about the interpretation of predictive risk scores using the Oncotype DX test for breast cancers occurring in men. Men account for a very small number of breast cancers, and it's been unclear whether the risk score could be used in the same way as in women in terms of predicting the risk of relapse and guiding chemotherapy treatment for early-stage breast cancers. Researchers at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center reviewed data from the National Cancer Database and found, in fact, that while the recurrence risk score for men was associated with mortality rates, the association was different than what has been reported for women with breast cancer.

Thyroid function is commonly evaluated with thyroid-stimulating hormone tests, but some experts believe testing is being overdone in people who are asymptomatic. In a new clinical practice guideline, the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care advised against screening asymptomatic adults, finding a lack of evidence for benefits.

The guideline differs from other sets of recommendations; for example, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has concluded that there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against screening for people who have no symptoms of underlying thyroid disease. In an editorial about the Canadian guideline, Mayo Clinic specialists flagged potential harms associated with screening, including overuse of the drug levothyroxine.

On the business front, Bruce Carlson, publisher of market research firm Kalorama Information, provided an overview of the hematology IVD market. Hematology will remain the second-largest volume of global IVD procedures, with the number of tests increasing 5.3% per year to nearly 6.7 billion in 2024, according to figures from Kalorama, which is a sister company of Growth in related IVD product sales during the same time frame will expand 5.5% annually to more than $5.6 billion, the company estimates.

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