Women with early-stage breast cancer may not benefit from chemo

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SUNDAY, June 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) - A majority of women with an early form of a common breast cancer may be able to skip chemotherapy, depending on the results of a comprehensive gene test.

His team is scheduled to present the study findings Sunday at the ASCO annual meeting, in Chicago, and the study is also being published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Joseph Sparano of Montefiore Medical Center in NY, lead author of the study says that the impact of this test could spare thousands of women from chemotherapy and for them surgery and hormone therapy could be sufficient.

Hormone-receptor-positive, axillary node-negative disease accounts for approximately half of all cases of breast cancer in the USA, and the National Institutes of Health has previously recommended adjuvant chemotherapy for most patients, the authors write.

Professor Boyle said several immunotherapy trials for triple negative breast cancer are about to start in Australia.

"The more in the bad risk category we'd say the chances of the cancer coming back are high so we'd give aggressive chemotherapy but still it wasn't an accurate science", explained Dr. Imran. Many women think "if I don't get chemotherapy I'm going to die, and if I get chemo I'm going to be cured", but the study shows there's a sliding scale of benefits and sometimes none at all, he said. This gives the genes a point score from zero to 100 based on how active they are.

The researchers performed a prospective trial between 2006 and 2010 involving 10,273 women with hormone-receptor-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative, axillary node-negative breast cancer.

Dr. Rosenberg added, "This is highly experimental and we're just learning how to do this, but potentially it is applicable to any cancer".

"I'm delighted", said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical and scientific officer for the American Cancer Society, who was not part of the study. It was achieved by using her own immune cells to wipe out the tumors.

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As many as 65,000 women in the United States alone could be affected by the findings.

The study reportedly found that gene tests on the tumor samples could identify the women who are eligible to skip chemotherapy.

"I, as an oncologist on Monday in clinic, will offer less chemotherapy that will not be of benefit to patients and that is very reassuring to know that when I am offering patients chemotherapy they are likely to benefit from it". Patients with scores between 11 and 25, though, represent an uncertainty.

Judy Perkins, 52, had received a number of failed treatments when she joined a study trialling a new kind of therapy.

"Tumors grow more aggressively in premenopausal women, not just women under 50", Brawley said. "With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years".

But in recent years, oncologists have warned that women with early-stage breast cancer are possibly being overtreated.

Oncotype DX first hit the market in 2004. A little boost can outweigh the risks of the treatment for these patients.

About 40,920 women in the US are expected to die in 2018 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1989.

A high recurrence score, above 25, means chemo is advised to ward off a recurrence, while a low score, below 10, means it is not. It was first issued in 1998 and has been reissued multiple times since, and has raised more than $86 million for breast cancer research.

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