Medical

Many women with early-stage breast cancer can skip chemotherapy

Many women with early-stage breast cancer can skip chemotherapy

He pointed out that by having this trial in Ireland, this has allowed more personalised treatment recommendations for women with this type and stage of breast cancer.

A leading oncologist said the findings will lead to a "fundamental change" in how the disease is treated.

The breast cancer study cast doubt on chemo's necessity in treating women in early stages of the disease where it has not spread to lymph nodes, it is hormone-positive and it is not the type that the drug Herceptin targets.

"I can remember sitting with patients and consenting them for this study", said Dr. Thomas W. Butler, Oncologist at USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.

The TAILORx trial used the Oncotype DX test, now available on the NHS, which allows doctors to predict the likelihood of the breast cancer coming back.

Well, we do this test of 21 genes.

Thousands of breast cancer patients may be safely spared gruelling chemotherapy following a landmark study.

"Chemotherapy is an absolute cornerstone of breast cancer treatment, but with the side-effects being nearly unbearable for some we must ensure it is only given to those that will benefit from it". The results are similar for women under 50 with a score between 0 and 15.

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.

The results "should have a huge impact on doctors and patients", Albain said.

Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical and scientific officer for the American Cancer Society said that he was "delighted" by the study and anxious about unnecessary cancer treatment and the side effects that come from chemotherapy.

The confusion comes from a genetic test called Oncotype DX that rates the likelihood of breast cancer recurrence on a 100-point scale.

"Moving forward, when women are making this decision, this study will help us put it into perspective and give them better advice next week than we were able to give them last week", said Litton, who was attending the conference where the results were discussed.

The new study of almost 7,000 women found that use of the already available Oncotype DX gene test could pinpoint those women who needed chemotherapy, and those who did not. Thankfully, the results were extremely successful: the therapy completely wiped out the cancer cells, and two years later, doctors found no traces of cancerous cells inside her.

While much more study is needed, researchers say because all cancers have mutations, this approach could potentially be used to treat many different types of cancer.

The study used a gene test done on tumors to help decide whether a woman would benefit from chemo or if they could receive hormone therapy. The side effects are often harsh and debilitating. Dr Steven Rosenberg, chief of surgery at the National Cancer Institute said that this was the most "personalized" form of medicine that there is.

The study was funded in part by the proceeds from sales of the breast cancer postage stamp.

But, researchers say some women 50 and younger in high-risk groups might still need chemo.

"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.