Many Breast Cancer Patients May Not Need Chemotherapy

Patients could live more than twice as long if given radiation treatment earlier a new study has found

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that a significant number of women with early-stage breast cancer may not require chemotherapy-which could potentially be a huge deal for tens of thousands of patients at the edges of the disease. Moore said the "OncoType DX" test has always been used to spare many women with "low risk" scores from chemotherapy treatments. Dr. Schmidt says, "What we're learning is that the women who have these kind of low intermediate risk scores, they really benefit more from the endocrine therapy, the other systemic therapies that we're offering and recommending and that chemotherapy, the tumors just aren't that responsive to that and it's not helpful and it's not necessary".

The study results found that adding chemotherapy did not provide any additional benefit over endocrine therapy alone. This confirms similar findings from earlier studies.

Those who score high - 26-100 - receive both hormone therapy and chemotherapy. 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 results show there's a sliding scale of benefit and sometimes none, he said. When the researchers analyzed premenopausal women and those younger than 50 years old at the higher end of the intermediate-risk range (16-25) separately, the results showed there may be a small benefit from chemotherapy, and thus these women should consider chemotherapy with their doctor.

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Over the years, the Cancer Institute has used its $59.8 million in proceeds for studies trying to improve early detection and to determine which cancers are most risky and need heaviest treatment and which are less so.

"Before TAILORx, there was uncertainty about the best treatment for women with a mid-range score of 11-25 on the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score test".

Pancreatic cancer patients treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy before surgery may live longer than those who have immediate surgery, according to unpublished clinical trial results. "The trial was created to address this question and provides a very definitive answer", said Dr. Sparano. Since 1998, when the charity stamp was authorized by Congress and first issued by the United States Postal Service, more than $86 million has been raised for breast cancer research. This is a shocking departure from the conventional standard of care and will likely change how many oncologists treat patients diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. The extra 6 cents went for research - 70 percent to the Cancer Institute and 30 percent to the Department of Defense.

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