Many With Early Breast Cancer May Not Need Chemo

05 June, 2018, 16:08 | Author: Sue Riley

That comprises about 85 percent of women with breast cancer in this age group, the researchers noted.

(That mouthful refers to three things: that the cancer was found early, that it could bind to certain hormones and that it didn't have the HER2 receptor.) This type of breast cancer is the most common type, according to the researchers.

The findings will lead to a "fundamental change" in how the disease is treated, a leading oncologist said. "Updated results for patients with a low recurrence score of 10 or less, who were previously reported as having a 1% distant recurrence rate at 5 years in our trial, now indicate a 9-year rate of distant recurrence of approximately 3%", the authors add.

The 21-gene recurrence-score Oncotype Dx assay is one of several commercially available gene expression assays that can offer prognostic insight in hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.

According to the TAILORx researchers, 260,000 women who are diagnosed with breast cancer each year around the world fall into the medium-risk category that wouldn't benefit from chemotherapy.

Breast cancer appears due to an uncontrolled growth on the breasts.

Doctors allow patients with scores of 10 or below to forgo chemotherapy and take estrogen-blocking drugs alone, because their likelihood of developing recurrent cancer is so low.

The test examines the activity of 21 genes of breast cancer tissue and assigns it a score between 0 and 100.

Women with scores of 10 or lower were considered not to need chemotherapy while those with scores 25 and over were considered to need it.

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"With results of this groundbreaking study, we now can safely avoid chemotherapy in about 70 percent of patients who are diagnosed with the most common form of breast cancer", said co-author Kathy Albain, an oncologist at Loyola Medicine in a Chicago suburb.

Patients under 50 with a score of up to 15 also do not need to undergo the treatment, the research concluded.

Dr Simon Vincent, director of research at the charity Breast Cancer Now, warned more patients will have to be treated to assess how effective the therapy is.

"It's also highly significant that this outcome suggests reprogramming patients' immune cells as part of a two-pronged attack could be a viable way to treat ER-positive tumours - which could open this approach up to benefit many patients with metastatic breast cancer".

"Side effects, such as hair loss, severe pain and infertility, can be utterly devastating and linger long after they walk out the hospital doors".

"Breast cancer treatments have advanced so much that treatments can nearly be tailored for patients and this is extremely welcome news as chemotherapy is a particularly invasive treatment". Women were separated into 2 groups, one receiving only hormone therapy, the other receiving chemotherapy and hormone therapy. While trying treatment after treatment, she became a breast cancer advocate and went to California for training by Project Lead, a program run by the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

Thousands of women have been tested over the years using Oncotype DX to help determine the true effectiveness of chemo. Erring on the side of caution, doctors usually give these women chemotherapy. "In many cases, we will be able to tailor treatments to the patient and their tumor".

In a reaction via the Science Media Centre in London, immunotherapy professor Alan Melcher of The Institute of Cancer Research said the trial was "fascinating and exciting". Now only about 60 percent of US patients who could potentially benefit from it are taking the gene test, he says.

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

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