70 per cent breast cancer patients don’t need chemo

70 per cent breast cancer patients don’t need chemo

SUNDAY, June 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) - A majority of women with an early form of a common breast cancer may be able to skip chemotherapy, depending on the results of a comprehensive gene test. The researchers' published paper is entitled "Adjuvant Chemotherapy Guided by a 21-Gene Expression Assay in Breast Cancer".

In the US, the most recent data shows around 135,000 new cases yearly of the specific breast cancer studied, says Dr. Joseph Sparano, an oncologist at Montefiore Medical Center, a professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the lead author of the study.

Chemotherapy can be avoided for 70pc of women with the most common type of early stage breast cancer, the study found.

This means in practice doctors can tell 70 percent of these patients they don't need to agonize over whether to get chemo, says study co-author Dr. Kathy Albain, a hematology and oncology professor at Loyola University Medical Center in IL.

Professor Arnie Purushotham, senior clinical advisor at Cancer Research UK, said that by grouping patients based on how likely their cancer is to return, the trial shows great potential to ensure treatment is kinder without compromising its effectiveness.

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute, some foundations and proceeds from the US breast cancer postage stamp.

Dr Steven Rosenberg, who led the trial by the US National Cancer Institute, said.

"We've had the results for the Oncotype for a number of years".

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There has always been suspicion that chemotherapy is overused in treating some forms of cancer-now doctors and patients can make more informed decisions about which cancer treatments they choose and which will be effective. Those who score 26 or higher on the scale do benefit and now receive chemotherapy. Instead, these women will likely remain in remission after having their tumors removed, and then taking estrogen-blocking hormone-therapy drugs. Many women think "if I don't get chemotherapy I'm going to die, and if I get chemo I'm going to be cured", but the results show there's a sliding scale of benefit and sometimes none, he said.

The trial has been ongoing for over 15 years and participating patients are still being followed up. We owe those who took part in this trial our thanks. Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News" Chief Medical Correspondent, says, "This is for the woman at intermediate risk for that cancer to reoccur.

"The study should have a huge impact on doctors and patients", said Dr Kathy Albain, one of the main co-authors. The Trial Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment (TAILORx) looked only at HER+, node-negative disease and women with midrange scores on the genetic tests - a group that has not been researched as much as some others. Similar tests including one called MammaPrint also are widely used.

There are typically more than 55,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in the United Kingdom each year, while around 11,500 people die from the disease. Another 16 per cent had very low risk scores and were told they could skip chemo.

This was particularly true for women between the ages of 50 and 75. "I sort of viewed chemo as extra insurance", she said. "I was planning on dying", she added, "After the treatment dissolved most of my tumours, I was able to go for a 40-mile hike".

"Oncologists have been getting much smarter about dialing back treatment so that it doesn't do more harm than good", Steven Katz, a University of MI researcher who examines medical decision-making, told the Washington Post.

Breast cancer patients should talk with their doctor to come up with the appropriate treatment.

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