Gene Test May Allow Many With Early Breast Cancer to Avoid Chemo


The new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that these women should not receive chemotherapy.

In the US, the most recent data shows around 135,000 new cases yearly of the specific breast cancer studied, says Dr. Joseph Sparano, an oncologist at Montefiore Medical Center, a professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the lead author of the study.

"This is a major finding", said Dr Larry Norton, a breast cancer expert at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in NY, who helped organise the government-funded study more than a decade ago.

"Not only have we shown that such treatment has a beneficial effect on disease control, but it also improves breast-cancer related survival", Philip Poortmans, head of the department of radiation oncology at the Institut Curie in Paris, said in a press release.

The team at the US National Cancer Institute says the therapy is still experimental, but could transform the treatment of all cancer. Should we not give them chemotherapy?

Women with breast cancer are at risk of having their disease spread to the lymph nodes, and from there elsewhere in the body.

The challenge so far in cancer immunotherapy is it tends to work spectacularly for some patients, but the majority do not benefit.

Gene testing can help make informed decisions about care and treatment, Dr. Harold Burstein of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, tells the AP.

"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.

A doctor exams mammograms, as part of a regular cancer prevention medical check-up at a clinic in Nice, south eastern France.

MacOS Mojave is getting rid of integrated Facebook and Twitter
Along with WatchOS and iOS, Apple also outlined what it's been working on for its PC operating system for the past year - MacOS . Other new categories are being planned by Apple under Work, Play, Develop and Create tabs that showcase featured apps.

Albain said research is ongoing, as scientists are now exploring questions about what types of chemotherapy might be effective on various groups based on their genomics, and what will happen to the participants of the clinical trial as even more time passes.

"The study should have a huge impact on doctors and patients", Dr. Kathy Albain, a hematologist/oncologist at Loyola Medicine in IL and a study co-author, said in a press release. Of the 10,273 women tested, 6,711 (69%) had a score of 11-25.

This researchers split the middle-scoring group into two randomized subgroups: one treated exclusively with estrogen-blocking hormone therapy, and one with chemo combined with hormone therapy. "That's important because chemo is toxic; it whacks patients out and can result in long-term job loss". Some women 50 or younger, however, did see benefits from chemo.

"This is a hard call when you are actually the one with the breast cancer", an early-stage breast cancer survivor from Middleton, Massachusetts, told LifeZette.

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.

That's why it's great news to hear that doctors in the United States have just made an awesome scientific breakthrough through, curing a woman who was in the advanced stages of the disease.

One difference: In women 50 or younger, chemo was associated with a lower risk of cancer recurrence, although the rates of overall survival were similar.

According to the Irish arm's lead investigator, Prof Maccon Keane of University Hospital Galway, this trial result "is a major advance in precision medicine for women with hormone receptor positive node negative breast cancer". "Yet many endure it to try and avoid the cancer coming back".

Oncotype DX, the genetic test, costs about $4,000.