Experimental breast cancer treatment allows Florida woman to return to normal life

07 June, 2018, 06:09 | Author: Inez Murphy
  • Participant Adine Usher met last month with study leader Dr. Joseph Sparano at the Montefiore and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York

Researchers followed the women for an average of nine years and found the recurrence rates and survival rates between the two groups were not significantly different.

A leading oncologist said the findings will lead to a "fundamental change" in how the disease is treated. Women in the intermediate recurrence score group were randomly assigned to receive either endocrine therapy plus chemotherapy or endocrine therapy alone.

As of January 2018, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women now being treated and women who have finished treatment.

The patients affected by these new study results are those with estrogen-sensitive breast cancers who also test negative for the HER2 gene.

While this new study is good news for many women around the world, experts firmly said that there are still women with breast cancer that have to go through chemotherapy treatment.

Charity Breast Cancer Care said it was a "life-changing breakthrough".

A 21-gene test called Oncotype Dx that has been around since 2004 has helped guide some decisions, post-surgery.

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.

That's great news, since the short-term side-effects of chemotherapy can include everything from nausea, hair loss, fatigue and infection, to numbness in hands and feet, and other symptoms.

Those with recurrence scores of 16 and above got a "substantial" benefit from chemotherapy and should consider it, said lead author Joseph Sparano, associate director for clinical research at the Albert Einstein Cancer Center and Montefiore Medical Center. "We want to give the right amount", he said.

"Now with these genomic tests, we are finding that we have multiple types of breast cancer, perhaps several dozen", said Brawley, "and we are being able to tailor our therapies to the type of breast cancer every woman has". Proceeds from the U.S. Postal Service's breast cancer stamp enabled a landmark study that showed which women need chemo and which do not.

Thousands of women have been tested over the years using Oncotype DX to help determine the true effectiveness of chemo. "He said the process 'shows how the immune cells already inside cancers may be switched on and made to work better". But researchers found that fewer patients in the radiation group had died from breast cancer compared to the control group - 15.8% vs. 19.7%. So, we used to say for that group of women, in terms of chemotherapy, "better safe than sorry". Rates for freedom from disease recurrence at a distant site were also similar, at 94.5% and 95% for the endocrine therapy and chemoendocrine therapy groups, respectively, as were rates for freedom from disease at a distant or local-regional site (92.2% and 92.9%, respectively) and for overall survival (93.9% vs 93.8%.).

The technique has previously been used to treat blood cancers and melanoma, but "it is the first time the treatment has been successful for late-stage breast cancer".

"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.

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