Many women with early breast cancer may not need chemo, study finds

For some breast cancer patients, the chemo decision may now be easier

For some breast cancer patients, the chemo decision may now be easier

"We can de-escalate toxic treatments and do that with certainty".

"I don't get optimistic about a lot of things, but I've been very optimistic about this", said Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.

Judy Perkins is the first woman in the world to have her breast cancer completely eradicated using a technique to turbocharge her immune system.

All the same, he says, the message of the new study isn't that chemotherapy is irrelevant. Such individualized therapies promise to be more effective and cause fewer side effects than more traditional ones developed for the average patient.

The test examines genes from a patient's breast cancer biopsy sample and allows doctors to assign a patient a "recurrence score" from 0 to 100, according to a news release from Loyola Medicine announcing the findings.

"By stratifying these breast cancer patients [by risk] and finding that only those with the highest risk of recurrence need to have chemotherapy based on their tumor genetics, TAILORx shows great potential to ensure more gentle treatment without compromising its effectiveness", Purushotham told Live Science.

"It's a hard enough time for a woman, and they look at you and say, 'I want to do what you think is best, ' and you have to say, 'unfortunately, you're in a group where there's uncertainty, ' " Albain said.

Hormone-receptor-positive, axillary node-negative disease -- the type of breast cancer studied here - accounts for half of all the breast cancer cases in the US, and chemotherapy historically has been part of most women's treatment regimen after surgery.

The result: After an average follow-up of 7.5 years, the researchers saw no added benefit in this group to adding chemotherapy to the treatment mix. He is not an author of the study, but his hospital participated.

Cancer experts agree with her assessment.

A POTENTIAL cure for cancer may have been found in the U.S. after a woman suffering from an "incurable" breast cancer that had spread to some of her organs was cured of the killer illness. Generally, after surgery, such patients receive endocrine therapy, such as tamoxifen, which is created to block the cancer-spurring effects of hormones. "I eat healthy. What?'" said Robyn Tuttle, who is now cancer free.

It found that Merck pharmaceutical's drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab) - which famously helped former USA president Jimmy Carter stave off advanced melanoma that had spread to his brain - helped lung cancer patients live 4 to 8 months longer than chemo.

A new class of patients could soon be treated for breast cancer, no chemotherapy required.

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.

The study, led by the Albert Einstein Cancer Center in NY, is a rare cancer breakthrough as it can save money and instantly change practice.

"It confirms that using the 21-gene expression test on tumours, we can identify which women will benefit from endocrine (hormone) therapy only, thus eliminating the need for them to have chemotherapy". "If confirmed in a larger study, it promises to further extend the reach of this T-cell therapy to a broader spectrum of cancers".

These results provide assurance that getting gene tested is a valuable first step for patients with this type of breast cancer. "Now we're actually peeling back and not treating everyone the same way".

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