Medicine

Hormone therapy will replace chemotherapy for most breast cancer treatment

Hormone therapy will replace chemotherapy for most breast cancer treatment

"With the results of this groundbreaking study, we can now safely avoid chemotherapy in about 70 per cent of patients who are diagnosed with the most common form of breast cancer".

The findings were released at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago, the world's largest annual cancer conference.

Women 50 or younger can avoid chemo if their scores are lower than 16, said lead author Joseph Sparano, associate director for clinical research at the Albert Einstein Cancer Center in NY.

The life of a woman with terminal breast cancer has been saved by a pioneering new therapy, say U.S. researchers. Many women think "if I don't get chemotherapy I'm going to die, and if I get chemo I'm going to be cured", but the study shows there's a sliding scale of benefits and sometimes none at all, he said.

After enrolling for new trial in 2015, doctors in the USA adopted an experimental approach combining two different forms of immunotherapy after conventional hormone treatments and chemotherapy failed.

For the TAILORx study, scientists recruited over 10,000 women with the most common type of breast cancer, called oestrogen-receptor positive (ER+) HER2-negative breast cancer.

The treatment involves a highly personalized approach and a patient's tumor is genetically analyzed to "identify the rare changes that might make the cancer visible to the immune system".

A sample of the tumour is tested after surgery for 21 genetic markers, which indicate if it could grow and spread. "Not only did these trials provide great relief for women in Ireland who participated and avoided three months of chemotherapy, it delivered considerable cost savings to the HSE", Ms Mulroe noted.

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It was less able to pick up stomach, uterine and early-stage low-grade prostate cancer. The tests found the cancers in four out of five patients who took it.

Ms Perkins had 62 mutations in her tumour cells.

"Oncologists have been getting much smarter about dialing back treatment so that it doesn't do more harm than good", Steven Katz, a University of MI researcher who examines medical decision-making, told the Washington Post.

The researchers noted one caveat to the findings, however: Women who were either premenopausal and/or younger than 50 and fell in the higher part of the medium-risk range (scores of 16 to 25) may have experienced a slight benefit from chemotherapy. Such patients have been in "the gray zone, and we haven't known what to tell them", Kurian said. Patients with scores between 11 and 25, though, represent an uncertainty. Women with low risk scores - those below 10 - don't need chemotherapy after surgery, and instead can be treated with hormone therapy, previous studies have found.

Women aged 50 or younger were the notable exception.

"If confirmed in a larger study, it promises to further extend the reach of this T-cell therapy to a broader spectrum of cancers".

When she was selected for the trial in 2015, the Florida woman "had tennis ball-sized tumours in her liver and secondary cancers throughout her body". "With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years". Treatment options include estrogen-blocking drugs along with doses of chemotherapy to lower the risk of recurrence. About 84 percent also had no signs of cancer, so chemo treatment had no impact.

Research has shown that Oncotype Dx and other tests, including Breast Cancer Index and EndoPredict, vary in accuracy, particularly when predicting the long-term risk of someone's cancer coming back. Since its establishment in 1996, over 15,000 people have participated in more than 350 cancer trials.