Study finds chemo might be unnecessary for some forms of breast cancer

Many Breast Cancer Patients May Not Need Chemotherapy

Presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (Asco) meeting in Chicago, the study showed that 15 per cent of those who underwent matched therapy survived for three years compared to seven per cent patients who had unmatched therapy, while six per cent of the matched group survived 10 years compared to 1 per cent unmatched.

Around half of women taking aromatase inhibitors, a common drug for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor positive breast cancer, experience joint pain.

Most girls with the most Frequent kind of early-stage Breast cancer may safely bypass chemotherapy without damaging their chances of beating the illness, physicians are reporting from a landmark study that used genetic testing to evaluate every individual's risk.

The analysis was financed by the National Cancer Institute, a few Some research leaders consult with breast cancer drugmakers or to the business which produces the gene evaluation.

While overall survival was small in the study because the patients were so ill to start with, the scientists behind it said the relative benefit of matched therapy applies to all cancer patients.

"It does tend to cause significant side effects such as fatigue and hair loss issues that really do trouble women", said Moore.

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When patients enrolled in the trial, their tumors were analyzed using the 21-gene expression test and assigned a risk score (on a scale of 0-100) for cancer recurrence.

However, chemotherapy did offer some benefit to women aged 50 and younger who had a cancer recurrence score of 16-25, the researchers found.

Doctors say avoiding chemotherapy can spare women the high costs and side effects of the regimen. Of those, 67% (6,711) received scores of 11 to 25 on the gene test, which indicated an intermediate risk of cancer recurrence. Five years after treatment, the rate of invasive disease-free survival was 92.8 percent for those who had hormone therapy alone and 93.1 percent for those who also had chemotherapy.

After nine years, 94 percent of both groups were still alive, and about 84 percent were alive without signs of cancer, so adding chemo made no difference.

The new research now indicates that these women in this range would most likely not benefit from the costly and often physically devastating chemotherapy protocol. This confirms similar findings from earlier studies. "We had no way of determining who needed it before and now it's a lot more clear", said Dr. Burak.

The findings suggest that thousands of women could one day forgo a treatment with long-term health ramifications without risking the spread of cancer.