Chemotherapy may provide no benefit for breast cancer in some cases


"With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years".

"Most women in this situation don't need treatment beyond surgery and hormone therapy", he said, and "the rest of them are receiving chemotherapy unnecessarily".

Still, he acknowledged that most patients with this form of advanced cancer will die within months, and "we need to do a lot more work". These women should discuss chemotherapy with their doctors, the researchers said.

"It also helps identify those women with this disease who really do benefit from the chemotherapy", he said. Based on those findings, decisions are made on the need for post-surgical chemotherapy.

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 majority of women in early stages of this form of breast cancer had basically the same recurrence and survival rates whether they received chemo or not -- overall there were no significant differences, so chemo gave them no advantage.

Until now, women have faced a great deal of uncertainty about whether to add chemo to hormone therapy after a diagnosis with hormone-receptor positive, HER-2 negative breast cancer when found at an early stage before it has spread to the lymph nodes.

A U.S. woman with advanced breast cancer is healthy again after taking part in an experimental treatment, using her body's own immune system to wipe out the tumours.

The latest results were presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The 49-year-old woman had been selected for the novel therapy after chemotherapy failed to stop a tumor in her right breast from growing.

Women with a score above 25 generally are given chemotherapy.

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British experts said the study was "exciting" even though it involved just one patient.

Thousands of women now have that option thanks to a recent study revealing chemo isn't the only way to go.

Judy Perkins is the first woman in the world to have her breast cancer completely eradicated using a technique to turbocharge her immune system. That's until she was selected for a radical new therapy. She enrolled in the TailorX trial and was relieved to be randomly assigned to the group that did not get chemotherapy. For those people, the side effects of chemotherapy could have been avoided, without making the treatment any less effective.

"I'd make sure women are educated about the new results especially when they talk to their Oncologist about what additional treatment beyond surgery is needed" said Abraham.

Laccetti's cancer has not returned.

Through genetic testing, they separated women more likely to have recurrent cancer, which could potentially spare thousands from the treatment. "Yet many endure it to try and avoid the cancer coming back".

Researchers found most women with early-stage breast cancer can safely skip chemotherapy. Similar tests including one called MammaPrint also are widely used.

Still, massive well done to these brilliant doctors, and we hope Judy continues to live a long and happy hike-filled, cancer-free life.

Dr Steven Rosenberg, who led the trial by the US National Cancer Institute, said. He expects treatment guidelines to quickly change based on the study, which was conducted by a research group named ECOG-ACRIN.

The study is an important tool in an oncologist's toolbox.

"To create the treatment, doctors first cut small pieces of tissue from Perkins's tumours and studied the DNA to find mutations specific to her cancer. You're never going to see these kinds of trials from the drug companies", because what is being tested might result in less use of their products, Brawley said. Another, more sinister, aspect to these headlines is the potential to fuel myths and conspiracy theories about the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Should we not give them chemotherapy?