January 20, 2019

Major Study Finds Many Women Diagnosed With Breast Cancer Can Skip Chemo

05 June 2018, 11:04 | Randall Craig

Breast cancer treatment: More women may avoid chemotherapy thanks to breakthrough research

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

Cancer care has been evolving away from chemotherapy - older drugs with harsh side effects - in favor of gene-targeting therapies, hormone blockers and immune system treatments.

"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. "Basically, it's going to spare a lot of unnecessary chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer". "We can de-escalate toxic treatments and do that with certainty". She's still cancer-free two years later.

"It feels miraculous, and I am beyond amazed that I have now been free of cancer for two years", Perkins told The Guardian.

This means in practice doctors can tell 70 percent of these patients they don't need to agonize over whether to get chemo, says study co-author Dr. Kathy Albain, a hematology and oncology professor at Loyola University Medical Center in IL.

How do doctors and patients know if a patient is high-risk?

"One of the challenges that we've had in breast cancer is we thought once size fit all, and everyone was getting too much treatment", Olopade said.

The patients' tumors were analyzed using a test called Oncotype DX, which examines the activity of 21 genes to predict the risk of a recurrence over 10 years. Similar tests including one called MammaPrint also are widely used.

A WOMAN has been completely cured of breast cancer after doctors tweaked her immune system, enabling it to destroy the tumours that had spread through her body.

Women with scores of 10 or lower were considered not to need chemotherapy while those with scores 25 and over were considered to need it.

Jacoub told Healthline it's the women with mid-range scores of between 11 and 25 that have provided oncologists with tough decisions. Minute amounts of these natural T-cells infiltrate the tumor, though they aren't present in high enough quantities to combat the growing cancer, Rosenberg said.

It follows trials of a genetic test that analyses the danger of a tumour.

"I'll be able to look people in the eye and say, 'We analysed your tumor, you have a really good prognosis and you actually don't need chemotherapy.' That's a nice thing to be able to say to somebody". The therapy also displayed some impressively positive response rates, promising at the very least an extra possibility for patients where pre-existing treatments have failed.

Women aged 50 or younger were the notable exception. But of the 7,000 women overall in the 11-25 range, 70% wouldn't have actually needed chemotherapy, Kathy Albain, an oncologist at Loyola University Medical Center in IL, told NPR.

As many as 65,000 women in the United States alone could be affected by the findings.

Breast cancer patients should talk with their doctor to come up with the appropriate treatment.

After nine years, 94 percent of the women in both groups were still alive.

But experts caution that the treatment has only proved itself in one woman and that the clinical trials are needed to see how effective the therapy could be in other cancer patients.

Among the immediate effects are nausea, hair loss, and reduced blood counts.

Gilead's Kite unit signed a development agreement for the experimental therapy, Rosenberg said.

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

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