Up to 85% of women with early breast cancer could safely avoid chemotherapy following a 21-gene test that can determine how active a tumour is.
"The impact is tremendous", said the study leader, Dr. Joseph Sparano of Montefiore Medical Center in NY.
The finding is for women who've been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, specifically those who are hormone-receptor positive, HER2 negative and node-negative cancer. "We originally, years ago, just did surgery, and then for many many years, everybody got chemotherapy, and now we know that we have these anti-hormonal drugs and pills that women can take". He said "Oncologists have been waiting for these results, it will affect practice on Monday morning".
"We still need to be very cautious in our young patient population with breast cancer, anyone under the age of 50".
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.
The new effects are around the 67 percent of women at intermediate risk.
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The study was supported in part by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Komen Foundation, and the Breast Cancer Research Stamp. In contrast, for patients with a low recurrence score (0-10), the benefits of chemotherapy are unlikely to outweigh the risks and toxicity.
"The story on breast cancer just continues to evolve", said Fleener. Oncotype DX costs around $4,000, which Medicare and many insurers cover. Similar evaluations like one called MammaPrint are also widely used.
Dr. Lisa Carey, a breast specialist at the University of North Carolina's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, said she would be very comfortable advising patients to skip chemo if they were like those in the study who did not benefit from it.
"This study is an example of how treatments can be refined in an attempt to work better for patients", said ASCO expert Dr. Andrew Epstein. "Towards the end, my eyes would water", she said.
10 decades back in Montefiore and has been assigned to the team awarded chemo. She said, "I was in the grey area". "The remedies" were not agreeable", she concedes. Her hair fell out, she developed an infection and was hospitalized for a low white blood count, "but it was over fairly quickly and I'm really glad I had it".
"If physicians had recommended she bypass chemo Depending on the chemical test,"that I Would have confessed that", she explained. research". "I'm a firm believer in medical research".