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New Research Could Help Breast Cancer Sufferers Avoid Chemotherapy

07 June 2018

About 50% of all women diagnosed worldwide have hormone-receptor positive, HER2-negative, node-negative cancer.

The experiment led to "complete durable regression" of the cancer that had spread to Judy Perkins' liver, the team said, writing in the journal Nature Medicine.

"Our study shows that chemotherapy may be avoided in about 70 percent of these women when its use is guided by the test, thus limiting chemotherapy to the 30 percent who we can predict will benefit from it", Sparano said in a news release from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

According to a new U.S. study, after the tumor has been removed from the breast, chemotherapy would only be needed in 20% of cases for patients suffering of breast cancer. Doctors then drain the defective white blood cells and inject the patient with the new super clones.

"I can remember sitting with patients and consenting them for this study", said Dr. Thomas W. Butler, Oncologist at USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.

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"There will still be some women that need chemotherapy".

The TAILORx trial used the Oncotype DX test, now available on the NHS, which allows doctors to predict the likelihood of the breast cancer coming back.

Thousands of women have been tested over the years using Oncotype DX to help determine the true effectiveness of chemo.

Patients, aged 18 to 75, were randomly assigned to receive chemotherapy followed by hormonal therapy or hormone therapy alone.

"Moving forward, when women are making this decision, this study will help us put it into perspective and give them better advice next week than we were able to give them last week", Jennifer Litton, an associate professor and oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, explained to USA Today. "The trial was created to address this question, and provides a very definitive answer". Her cancer did not respond to any treatments, including chemotherapy and hormone therapy, until this one- time treatment with more personalized immunotherapy. All had received a mid-range Oncotype DX score. "But the results came out either low risk, high risk or intermediate risk", Abraham added.

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Then, researchers studied the outcomes, including whether or not cancer recurred, and overall survival. "We knew we were overtreating a lot of women with chemotherapy, in our gut".

Judy, who lives in Florida had an aggressive form of advanced cancer where her major organs were getting involved and there was no scope for treatment with conventional methods such as a chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy.

Data found that 15 years after such treatment, 73.2 percent of patients given this more extensive radiation were alive, compared to 70.8 percent of those who underwent standard of care.

- You think that when a woman gets breast cancer, chemo is the go-to treatment. "But because this new approach to immunotherapy is dependent on mutations, not on cancer type, it is in a sense a blueprint we can use for the treatment of many types of cancer". The side effects are often harsh and debilitating.

"When someone had an intermediate score, it was hard to decide whether or not to proceed with chemotherapy", Bernik said. That means more than 85,000 women a year can safely forgo chemotherapy.

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Dr Steven Rosenberg, who led the trial by the US National Cancer Institute, said.

New Research Could Help Breast Cancer Sufferers Avoid Chemotherapy