Chemo 'not needed' by 70pc of women with breast cancer

Participant Adine Usher met last month with study leader Dr. Joseph Sparano at the Montefiore and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York

Participant Adine Usher met last month with study leader Dr. Joseph Sparano at the Montefiore and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York

The results are even more impressive because breast cancers, like prostate and ovarian cancers, have relatively few mutations - which makes it much harder for the immune system to differentiate and attack them.

Experts believe the case, discussed at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, marks the start of a breakthrough for thousands of women who now have no hope.

A low test score means patients can forgo the treatment, as well as its toxic side effects, while a high score means women would greatly benefit.

The latest breast cancer research shows tens of thousands of women with the most common form of early-stage breast cancer can safely skip chemotherapy. The money was used to pay for the gene test, which costs more than $4,000 per person. Those at high risk are advised to receive it but intermediate was a toss-up until this study. "The gray area has been the mid-range RS score of 11 to 25-this target population accounts for about 50% of women in the United States", Soprano said.

"This is another significant step towards personalised breast cancer treatment and we hope these practice-changing findings will help refine our use of chemotherapy on the NHS".

Researchers studied their outcomes, including whether or not cancer recurred, and their overall survival.

There has always been suspicion that chemotherapy is overused in treating some forms of cancer-now doctors and patients can make more informed decisions about which cancer treatments they choose and which will be effective. However, there was a range between favourable and unfavourable where it was not clear whether we should give chemotherapy.

Patients under 50 with a score of up to 15 also do not need to undergo the treatment, the research concluded. The TAILORx trial was created to help personalize treatment for women 18 to 75 years of age with hormone receptor (HR)-positive, HER2-negative, axillary node (AN)-negative breast cancer whose tumors were 1.1 cm to 5.0 cm in size and who had a mid-range RS.

The results "should have a huge impact on doctors and patients", Albain said.

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.

In an article commenting on the results of Dr Rosenberg's trial, Dr Laszlo Radvanyi of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research said they provided evidence that "we are now at the cusp of a major revolution" in cancer immunotherapy.

When she was selected for the trial in 2015, the Florida woman "had tennis ball-sized tumours in her liver and secondary cancers throughout her body".

"If confirmed in a larger study, it promises to further extend the reach of this T-cell therapy to a broader spectrum of cancers", he said.

Nina Barough, the founder and chief executive of Walk the Walk - the breast cancer charity behind the coming Moonwalk Scotland event - said: "I had my cancer 20 years ago and, at that time, scientists knew chemotherapy wasn't suitable for everybody, but what they couldn't tell is who it was suited for and who it wasn't".

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". She's still cancer-free two years later.

"We are now leaving an era where the only choice for non-small-cell lung cancer patients was to start with chemotherapy", he told reporters at the ASCO conference.

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