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Many Breast Cancer Patients Don’t Need Chemo

07 June 2018

A woman with late-stage breast cancer that had spread throughout her body is now completely clear of the disease, thanks to a treatment that used her own immune cells to destroy the cancer.

A leading oncologist said the findings will lead to a "fundamental change" in how the disease is treated. "Not only did these trials provide great relief for women in Ireland who participated and avoided three months of chemotherapy, it delivered considerable cost savings to the HSE", Ms Mulroe noted.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide, causing some 1.7 million new cases annually and over half a million deaths.

The study enrolled 10,273 women who had the most common type of breast cancer (hormone-receptor positive, HER2 negative) that had not spread to lymph nodes.

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"Hopefully lead us to a more molecular based treatment of breast cancer so eventually patients not need surgery or radiation instead take a pill from medicine and cure breast cancer", said Figueredo. The test looks at 21 different genes known to play a role in the development of breast cancer.

Mall underwent a double mastectomy and received hormone treatments, but decided not to go through chemotherapy after discussing the uncertainty of its effectiveness with Albain. Some women 50 or younger, however, did see benefits from chemo.

Now, the "vast majority of women who have this test performed on their tumor can be told they don't need chemotherapy, and that can be said with tremendous confidence and reassurance", Burstein stated.

"Now with these genomic tests, we are finding that we have multiple types of breast cancer, perhaps several dozen", said Brawley, "and we are being able to tailor our therapies to the type of breast cancer every woman has". This showed that the chemotherapy had no influence in the outcome of the cancer. It's called the Oncotype DX test.

Patients, aged 18 to 75, were randomly assigned to receive chemotherapy followed by hormonal therapy or hormone therapy alone. Importantly, chemotherapy still showed some benefit in women with higher Oncotype recurrence scores, and in some women under the age of 50.

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Because of her work as a nurse, she was familiar with chemotherapy's sometimes harsh effects.

The 52-year-old mother-of-two from Florida has been disease-free for nearly two years. "Now we know there's no need to give chemotherapy to those patients anymore", Mitchell said.

Dr Ring said the trial's reuslts would likely have an immediate impact on United Kingdom practice and represented a significant shake-up in the treatment of early-stage breast cancer.

Jennifer Litton, an associate professor and oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, told USA Today that the results will help patients and their doctors make more informed decisions.

Now we do. This very large, very important study is telling us that people with those intermediate scores have a very good prognosis and that prognosis is not improved by chemotherapy.

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"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.

Many Breast Cancer Patients Don’t Need Chemo