Thousands of women could skip chemo for early-stage breast cancer

Thousands of women could skip chemo for early-stage breast cancer

"We can spare thousands and thousands of women from getting toxic treatment that really wouldn't benefit them", Dr. Ingrid A. Mayer, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center and author of the study, was quoted as saying.

A new study revealed that women with early-stage breast cancer might not need to undergo chemotherapy.

The medical world is buzzing after the results of a yearslong study on breast cancer treatment were presented Sunday at a conference in Chicago.

These are the results from a single patient and much larger trials will be needed to confirm the findings.

Catherine Floyd, Cancer Survivor, says, "I had nausea".

During the study, the women were given a genetic test called Oncotype DX to determine their risk for cancer reoccurrence. The findings indicate that chemotherapy may be considered for the remaining 30% of women.

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.

The Oncotype DX genetic test has been available on the NHS since 2013, but the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) is now updating its guidance on whether it should be recommended for use. But the intermediate patients with scores of 11 to 25, we have not known what's best for them. "The trial was created to address this question, and provides a very definitive answer".

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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. All had received a mid-range Oncotype DX score. Instead, doctors say the only treatment necessary is surgery and hormone therapy. Rates for freedom from disease recurrence at a distant site were also similar, at 94.5% and 95% for the endocrine therapy and chemoendocrine therapy groups, respectively, as were rates for freedom from disease at a distant or local-regional site (92.2% and 92.9%, respectively) and for overall survival (93.9% vs 93.8%.).

Professor Frances Boyle, director of the Patricia Ritchie Centre for Cancer Care and Research at Sydney's Mater Hospital, who was not involved in the study, said the technique was able to produce a lasting effect. Previous studies demonstrated that patients with scores of 10 or less did not need chemotherapy, while women with scores above 25 did benefit from it.The new study examined the majority of women who fall in the intermediate range of 11 to 25. It looks for a genetic "signature" in a sample of the tumour and gives a score between 0 and 100, which can help to direct treatment decisions.

Chemotherapy is often used after surgery to reduce the chance of breast cancer spreading or coming back.

Charity Breast Cancer Care said it was a "life-changing breakthrough". The results showed that the chemo made no significant difference at all in which women died from their cancer (about 6 percent for both groups) and which didn't go into remission (about 16 percent for both groups).

In rare cases it can lead to heart failure and leukaemia.

Dr Steven Rosenberg, a leading member the medical team, said: "This patient came to us in a desperate situation, with every treatment having failed".

Proceeds from the U.S. Postal Service's breast cancer stamp helped fund this important study.

The study published on Sunday, on which early-stage breast cancer patients can forgo chemo, is by far the most impactful so far.