CANCER patients could avoid hours of unnecessary chemotherapy after Spanish scientists developed a method for predicting the spread of the disease.

Researchers found they were able to determine breast and lung metastasis – the spread of cancer from one organ to another – by analysing the genetic information of tumours.

Scientists at the Catalan Oncology Institute and two hospitals in Madrid implanted malignant tissue in rats, whose bodies are affected by the disease in much the same way as humans.

They found they were able to differentiate between those patients who required chemotherapy treatment and those where less-intensive alternatives were possible.

However, the technology is unlikely to be used in hospitals for at least the next two years, with further tests required.

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