NEW research could help early detection of breast cancer and prevent the threat of the disease spreading.
The study, funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research, aims to identify patients at risk from the spread of cancer to the bone so that they can be treated earlier.
Breast cancer is now the most common cancer in the UK, affecting over 47,000 women each year.
Some 80% of women with the illness survive for five years or more.
However, a significant proportion develop an advanced, incurable form of the disease.
According to recent research, there may be small genetic differences between the tumours of patients who are likely to develop an advanced form of breast cancer and those who are not.
If women can be identified who are at risk of this particular type of breast cancer, treatment can be tailored to prevent or delay this progression.
The study will use samples already provided by patients during a recent clinical trial led from Yorkshire.
Dr Janet Brown, of the Section of Oncology and Clinical Research at the University of Leeds is leading the study.
She said: “Yorkshire already plays an international role in clinical trials for breast cancer.
“Our scientists and clinicians at Leeds and Sheffield are uniquely placed to carry out this work.
“We hope this project will ultimately lead to a simple test in breast cancer tissue or in blood to determine if a patient is likely to benefit from new treatment.”