Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Many Breast Cancer Patients May Not Need Chemotherapy

Many Breast Cancer Patients May Not Need Chemotherapy

In contrast, for patients with a low recurrence score (0-10), the benefits of chemotherapy are unlikely to outweigh the risks and toxicity.

A new study finds many women with early stage cancer may be able to skip chemotherapy.

"The impact is tremendous", said the study leader, Dr. Joseph Sparano of Montefiore Medical Center in NY.

According to Dr. Schmidt, "By looking at different genes in the breast cancer, the oncotype test can predict if women are low risk, intermediate risk, or high risk or recurrence and what their benefit or lack thereof of chemotherapy might be". The study found that for women with hormone receptor (HR)-positive, HER2-negative, axillary lymph node-negative breast cancer, treatment with chemotherapy and hormone therapy after surgery is not more beneficial than treatment with hormone therapy alone.

Jane Murphy, clinical nurse specialist at Breast Cancer Care, said: "It's really interesting to see different avenues are being explored to help women adapt to life after breast cancer, which can be incredibly daunting and hard". He said "Oncologists have been waiting for these results, it will affect practice on Monday morning". "Any woman with early-stage breast cancer age 75 or younger should have the 21-gene expression test and discuss the results with her doctor to guide her decision to the right therapy". "It's a great news story".

To conduct the study, women in the intermediate groups were either prescribed chemotherapy or given treatment absent of the use of chemotherapy. "This life-changing breakthrough is absolutely wonderful news as it could liberate thousands of women from the agony of chemotherapy".

While overall survival was small in the study because the patients were so ill to start with, the scientists behind it said the relative benefit of matched therapy applies to all cancer patients.

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The usual treatment is surgery followed by years of a hormone-blocking drug.

Moore said the study results will help her and other physicians expand the number of patients who can be spared chemotherapy. Oncotype DX costs around $4,000, which Medicare and many insurers cover.

Testing solved a big problem of figuring out who needs chemo, said Dr. Harold Burstein of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "We know that we can use this data and tell women firmly, 'You don't need chemotherapy; you're going to do so well without it'".

The study was extensive so patients who fit in this new category should be very confident with their course of treatment, even if it's without chemotherapy.

"I was somewhat relieved". "The remedies" were not agreeable", she concedes.

"I lost my hair". "I'm a firm believer in medical research".

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