Thursday, 21 June, 2018

New study finds many women with early-stage cancer could skip chemotherapy

Many Breast Cancer Patients May Not Need Chemotherapy Personalised medicine 'transforms' survival chances in incurable cancer
Ben Pena | 08 June, 2018, 00:17

The two most recent studies it is funding look at tomosynthesis - a newer breast imaging technique - versus standard-of-care 3D mammograms, and research on whether weight loss impacts breast cancer treatment and outcomes.

"This life-changing breakthrough is absolutely wonderful news as it could liberate thousands of women from the agony of 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".

However an estimated 25% of patients stop within two years because they can not endure the side effects, lead author Dr Sherry Shen, of the New York Presbyterian Hospital, said.

"The impact is tremendous", said the study leader, Dr. Joseph Sparano of Montefiore Medical Center in NY. It revealed more information about how to treat patients with early-stage breast cancer.

About 17 percent of women had high-risk scores and were advised to have chemo. "So this is actually a huge finding for us in the world of medical oncology", said Dr. Susan Newman, an oncologist at UT Medical Center.

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There are several factors that determine whether or not a patient will, in fact, be able to forgo the chemo, most significant being if they score in the mid-range or lower for risk that their cancer will recur, as measured by a common genomic test.

The study was supported in part by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Komen Foundation, and the Breast Cancer Research Stamp. Most women in this situation don't need treatment beyond surgery and hormone therapy, he said.

While Nelson said she had a common form of breast cancer, her disease required chemotherapy. This data adds to findings from a TAILORx analysis published in 2015 that provided prospective evidence that the gene expression test could identify women with a low risk of recurrence who could be spared chemotherapy.

Dr. Newman said there is one caveat. "There are some people who say, 'I don't care what you say, I'm never going to do chemo, '" and won't even have the gene test, she said.

"Testing solved a large issue of figuring out that desires chemo, said Lots of women believe" if I do not get chemotherapy I will die, and when I get chemo I'm likely to be treated", but the results show there is a sliding scale of advantage and sometimes not one, " he explained.

"I was somewhat relieved".

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