Research that analyzes prognostic variables in breast cancer can find clinically important associations although it cannot prove causal relations. Disease-associated variables that predict relapse and survival are particularly needed for neoplasms such as breast cancer, in which prophylactic but potentially toxic adjuvant therapy may improve survival. Identification of these variables is needed as much to exclude the patients who should be spared the rigors of therapy as to select those who should be treated. The greatest hope for cancer research projects, particularly those at the biochemical level, is that they will lead to the identification of causative genetic elements that.
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