Advanced breast cancer 'eradicated' in world first

Many breast cancer patients can skip chemo big study finds

Many breast cancer patients can skip chemo big study finds

A POTENTIAL cure for cancer may have been found in the United States after a woman suffering from an "incurable" breast cancer that had spread to some of her organs was cured of the killer illness.

"With results of this ground-breaking study, we now can safely avoid chemotherapy in about 70 per cent of patients who are diagnosed with the most common form of breast cancer", said co-author Kathy Albain, an oncologist at Loyola Medicine.

Trial Assigning IndividuaLized Options for Treatment (Rx), or TAILORx, successfully confirmed the benefit of endocrine therapy alone in patients with early-stage breast cancer who have an Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score of 11 to 25.

It was first issued in 1998 and has been reissued multiple times since, and has raised more than $86 million for breast cancer research.

According to first author Joseph Sparano of Montefiore Medical Center in NY, "any woman with early-stage breast cancer 75 or younger should have the test and discuss the results" with her doctor.

"This new study really gives us good reliable data based on almost 7,000 patients, that if you have an intermediate risk score, you don't benefit from chemotherapy", said Dr. John Rimmer, Breast Cancer Surgeon.

"This is a really big deal", said Dr. Adam Brufsky, a coauthor on the new study and a professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.

Previously in clinical trials, checkpoint inhibitors have proved ineffective against most breast cancers.

British experts described the study as "fascinating and exciting" even though it reported on just one patient. When chemo is used now, it's sometimes for shorter periods or lower doses than it once was.

More importantly, the study helped to dispel "a growing dogma" among cancer specialists that tumours with fewer mutations were not good candidates for targeted immunotherapy treatment, said Dr Radvanyi.

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The breast cancer study focused on cases where chemo's value increasingly is in doubt: women with early-stage disease that has not spread to lymph nodes, is hormone-positive (meaning its growth is fueled by estrogen or progesterone) and is not the type that the drug Herceptin targets.

The usual treatment is surgery followed by years of a hormone-blocking drug.

"Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer of women in Arkansas, one in eight". Doctors know that most don't need it, but evidence is thin on who can forgo it. Those at high risk are advised to receive it but intermediate was a toss-up until this study. Of those women, 6,711 had test scores between 11 and 25, which placed them in the intermediate risk group. In both groups 89% of women had survived the disease.

Mall underwent a double mastectomy and received hormone treatments, but decided not to go through chemotherapy after discussing the uncertainty of its effectiveness with Albain.

All women like those in the study should get gene testing to guide their care, said Dr. Richard Schilsky, chief medical officer of the oncology society.

Oncotype DX is becoming more standard.

However, certain women 50 or younger will still benefit from having chemotherapy. The results showed there might be a small benefit from chemotherapy.

Adine Usher, 78, who lives in Hartsdale, New York, joined the study 10 years ago at Montefiore and was randomly assigned to the group given chemo.

"I have definitely hit the jackpot", said Perkins, a retired engineer from Port St. Lucie, Fla. By finding, isolating and multiplying the tiny subset of immune cells that are still in the fight, then demonstrating their ability to vanquish a patient's tumors, Rosenberg's group has shown that "the cells are there", Mackall said.

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

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