New Study Suggests Chemotherapy not Needed to Treat Breast Cancer

Adine Usher 78 meets with breast cancer study leader Dr. Joseph Sparano at the Montefiore and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx borough of New York. Usher was one of about 10,000 participants in the study which shows women at low or inter

Exercise your right to vote.

It's a major health headline this morning: a landmark new study finds most women with the most common form of early-stage breast cancer can safely skip chemotherapy.

All women like those in the study should get gene testing to guide their care, said Dr. Richard Schilsky, chief medical officer of the oncology society. This approach is also complex and expensive, so it will still be a while before we can see it applied to a larger part of the population. "We are de-escalating toxic therapy", study co-author Dr. Kathy Albain added. But many women also are urged to have chemo to help kill any stray cancer cells. This showed that the chemotherapy had no influence in the outcome of the cancer.

"It means that maybe 100,000 women in the United States alone do not require chemotherapy", Norton said. However, there was a range between favourable and unfavourable where it was not clear whether we should give chemotherapy.

Scientists used the Oncotype Dx test to predict how likely hormone receptor positive breast cancer was to come back after surgery.

Her case, detailed in the journal Nature Medicine, involves a new treatment which harnesses the body's own immune system to destroy cancerous cells.

About 17 percent of the women tested had high-risk scores and were advised to have chemotherapy. "Now I'm going to say, 'Hey, you don't need it. Look at these numbers; you're going to be fine'".

A 2017 study showed that for breast cancer that hasn't spread to the lymph nodes, the rate of chemotherapy has dropped from around 27 percent in 2013 to 14 percent in 2015.

The usual treatment for such patients is surgery to remove the tumour, followed by several years of hormone-blocking medications, such as tamoxifen. First, this is a study of just one form of breast cancer and the authors found that chemo could still benefit some patients with the cancer - mainly younger women, regardless of their tumor's genetic "score".

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It works by looking at the activity levels of 21 genes, which are markers of how aggressive the cancer is.

The results are even more impressive because breast cancers, like prostate and ovarian cancers, have relatively few mutations - which makes it much harder for the immune system to differentiate and attack them.

Professor Keane said the test will identify which women will benefit from endocrine (hormone) therapy only. "I eat healthy. What?'" said Robyn Tuttle, who is now cancer free. Next, they analused immune cells that target tumours, which are the body's way of killing cancer.

They represent roughly half of the more than 17,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in Australia every year.

"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.

"Oncologists have been getting much smarter about dialing back treatment so that it doesn't do more harm than good", said Steven Katz, a University of MI researcher who examines medical decision-making. "As an oncologist, on Monday in the clinic, I 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".

"There will still be some women that need chemotherapy".

Rachel Rawson, from the charity Breast Cancer Care, said: "Every day, women with certain types of breast cancer face the awful dilemma of whether or not to have the treatment, without hard facts about the benefit for them". These womenrandomly divided into two groups: One group received only hormone therapy after surgery, and the other group received both hormone therapy and chemotherapy.

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