September 24, 2018

Breakthrough breast cancer study means fewer women needing chemotherapy

06 June 2018, 01:02 | Silvia Roy

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Now, the choice is getting easier for some patients. All had received a mid-range Oncotype DX score.

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

Brawley said that in addition to offering patients and doctors peace of mind about forgoing chemotherapy, the findings will prevent tens of thousands of breast cancer patients each year from the debilitating and harmful risks associated with the treatment, including hair loss, nausea, vomiting and being at risk for leukemia and congestive heart failure. Women older than 50 with a midrange risk - defined in the study as a score of 11 to 25 on a tumour test - can skip chemo and just have endocrine therapy.

"You will see it nationwide and you will see it here", says Sparrow Hospital Oncologist Dr. Gordan Srkalovic.

"They told me they had treated 12 patients and were following up on one", she said.

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. About 16 percent with low-risk scores knew they could skip chemo.

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After nine years, the cancer-free rates were 83.3 percent for the hormone-therapy-only group and 84.3 percent for the hormone-therapy-plus-chemotherapy group.

"It feels miraculous, and I am beyond amazed that I have now been free of cancer for two years", Perkins said. So they don't have to receive chemotherapy. "The trial was created to address this question, and provides a very definitive answer".

"A lot of work needs to be done, but the potential exists for a paradigm shift in cancer therapy - a unique drug for every cancer patient", he said.

The CRCWM is primarily funded by the National Cancer Institute and has between 100 to 150 trials open at any time.

"Chemotherapy is no Shangri-La", Brawley said.

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

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It's one of a few branded tests that have been developed for this objective and is recommended for use in the United Kingdom by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellent (NICE). "The era of one- size-fits-all is basically coming to an end, which is great news".

Well, we do this test of 21 genes. A score lower than 10 means the risk of distant recurrence is low, and the women will not benefit from chemotherapy. They were scored using the Oncotype DX genetic test, which assesses how the cancer is likely to respond to treatment. Now only about 60 percent of USA patients who could potentially benefit from it are taking the gene test, he says. Chemotherapy could still be on the table for people who fall outside of this group.

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

"I don't ever think I'll ever have the feeling that I'm completely out of the woods, but this definitely is exciting and makes me feel good", Mall said.

This was particularly true for women between the ages of 50 and 75. "We should continue to go down that path".

"I will explain that's why research is so important in helping us move forward in breast cancer care that's how we will achieve a cure for breast cancer", Figueredo said.

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Previously, the challenge doctors and patients faced was a mid-range score.

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