Chemotherapy is not needed in 70% of cases of breast cancer

Chemotherapy is not needed in 70% of cases of breast cancer

A new class of patients could soon be treated for breast cancer, no chemotherapy required.

A trial of more than 10,000 women with the most common form of early breast cancer found the treatment was unnecessary for many after surgery. They are going to change treatment and remove uncertainty for women making decisions, ' Allison Kurian, an oncologist at Stanford University who was not involved in the trial said.

He estimates 3000 women a year in the United Kingdom would no longer need chemotherapy because of this trial.

This researchers split the middle-scoring group into two randomized subgroups: one treated exclusively with estrogen-blocking hormone therapy, and one with chemo combined with hormone therapy.

It's not the first time breast cancer research has made headlines this week.

Women with early-stage HER2-negative breast cancer who have a score of 10 or below are usually not prescribed chemotherapy.

"What that test does is look at 21 different genes to see if each is turned on or off and then if it is over-expressed or not", Brawley said.

They found these women may benefit from surgery and hormone therapy and may not have to go through chemotherapy treatments.

The patients then went on to receive either hormonal therapy alone or the combo of hormonal therapy plus chemotherapy.

But most women get an intermediate result meaning they are unclear as to what to do.

A new study presented yesterday (June 3) at an American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, Illinois, suggests that about half of the women who are diagnosed with a subset of early-stage breast cancer may not need chemotherapy as part of their post-surgery treatment. Forty percent of women who were 50 years of age or younger had a recurrence score of 15 or lower.

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Rachel Rawson, clinical nurse specialist at Breast Cancer Care, said: "This life-changing breakthrough is absolutely wonderful news as it could liberate thousands of women from the agony of chemotherapy".

"By stratifying these breast cancer patients [by risk] and finding that only those with the highest risk of recurrence need to have chemotherapy based on their tumor genetics, TAILORx shows great potential to ensure more gentle treatment without compromising its effectiveness", Purushotham told Live Science.

In recent years, many doctors have reduced their use of chemo, which can cause nausea, fatigue and, in rare cases, more serious complications such as leukemia and heart failure.

Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical and scientific officer for the American Cancer Society said that he was "delighted" by the study and anxious about unnecessary cancer treatment and the side effects that come from chemotherapy.

She's very aware that most patients with metastatic breast cancer aren't as fortunate and that experimental approaches can entail big risks.

Doctors in the U.S. adopted an experimental approach combining two different forms of immunotherapy after conventional hormone treatments and chemotherapy failed.

"They were able to give the patient's own immune system a major boost". The doctor said that her only hope of avoiding that toxic cocktail lay in the results of an ongoing trial, Tailorx.

While the new study fills in a crucial gap of medical knowledge, what remains confusing is what took so long to get the point where we can measure twice and cut once, so to speak.

Research has shown that Oncotype Dx and other tests, including Breast Cancer Index and EndoPredict, vary in accuracy, particularly when predicting the long-term risk of someone's cancer coming back.

This resulted in a "highly personalized" anti-cancer therapy that yielded "complete tumor regression", the researchers wrote.

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