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The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/bcr1605) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Andrew H Sims, Kai Ren Ong contributed equally to this work.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Gene expression profiling is a relatively new technology for the study of breast cancers, but within the past few years there has been a rapid rise in interest in its potential to improve the clinical management of breast cancer. This technology has contributed to our knowledge of the molecular pathology of breast tumours and shows promise as a tool to predict response to therapy and outcome, such as risk of metastasis. Microarray technology is continually developing and it is becoming apparent that, despite the various platforms available, robust conclusions can still be drawn that apply across the different array types. Gene expression profiling is beginning to appear in the breast cancer clinic but it is not yet fully evaluated. This review explores the questions that must be addressed before this technology can become an everyday clinical tool.