Breakthrough breast cancer study means fewer women needing chemotherapy

07 June, 2018, 06:12 | Author: Earnest Huff
  • Phyllis Laccetti a participant in the TailorX breast cancer study at her home in Ossining NY

The results are sure to accelerate the decline in chemotherapy for the disease. Patients should not make any changes to their treatment based off this study, and should always consult their doctors. So they don't have to receive chemotherapy.

Researchers followed the women for an average of nine years. Now they can have confidence in those decisions, experts said. "It is very different to any other kind of treatment". Most women in this situation don't need treatment beyond surgery and hormone therapy, and "the rest of them are receiving chemotherapy unnecessarily".

According to a new USA study, after the tumor has been removed from the breast, chemotherapy would only be needed in 20% of cases for patients suffering of breast cancer.

Each year more than 20,000 women in the United Kingdom are diagnosed with hormone-receptor positive, HER2-negative, node-negative breast cancer.

Patients under 50 with a score of up to 15 also do not need to undergo the treatment, the research concluded.

"We now know based on the evidence that came out depending on the patient's age there's maybe no benefit to chemo therapy do just as well live as long a life with endocrine therapy", Figueredo said.

To find the answer, researchers randomly assigned more than 6,700 women with intermediate scores - 11 to 25 - to two groups.

Women aged 50 or younger were the notable exception.

Those patients: those diagnosed with early-stage, invasive, hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer who scored in a specific range of a genetic test. According to a report by The Guardian, she was 49 when she was given a few months to live after seven types of chemotherapy failed and she had developed tumours the size of fists in her liver. She got only tamoxifen.

While IM-MS nodes can be treated with radiation therapy, concerns about the side effects of increasing the radiation area to the chest has limited such use. She also watched her brother and sister - who died of thyroid cancer and leukemia, respectively - suffer through chemotherapy treatments.

Laccetti's cancer has not returned. The trial is in its early stages - with a projected closing date for the study pencilled in for 2023, it could be a while before medics can assume the new method is safe.

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The overall survival rate was similar: 93.9% for those who received hormone therapy alone and 93.8% for those who received both therapies. "He said the process 'shows how the immune cells already inside cancers may be switched on and made to work better".

But it has many torturing side-effects including vomiting, hair loss, fatigue, anemia, nerve pain and, in rare cases, heart failure and leukaemia.

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

Yet the move away from chemotherapy has been hotly debated, with some doctors warning that chemo can save lives and that a "de-escalation" of treatment could be unsafe.

She agreed to take part in a clinical trial with the National Cancer Institute to try a new treatment involving immunotherapy.

Over the years, the Cancer Institute has used its $59.8 million in proceeds for studies trying to improve early detection and to determine which cancers are most risky and need heaviest treatment and which are less so.

Chemotherapy is the use of chemical substances to remove any remaining cancer cells after a surgery to remove a tumour.

He said: This is a remarkable and extremely promising result, but we need to see this effect repeated in other patients before giving hope of a new immunotherapy for incurable metastatic breast cancer.

Harold Burstein, a breast cancer specialist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said that in some ways the debate over de-escalation misses a larger issue.

"The treatment sometimes makes you sicker than the disease", Tuttle said. "I eat healthy. What?'" said Robyn Tuttle, who is now cancer free. "No more, no less".

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