According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 236,000 women and 2,100 men were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, the most recent year for which figures are available.
"It confirms that using the 21-gene expression test on tumours, we can identify which women will benefit from endocrine (hormone) therapy only, thus eliminating the need for them to have chemotherapy".
The findings apply to about 60,000 women a year in the United States, according to Dr Joseph A Sparano of Montefiore Medical Center in NY, the leader of the study.
Dr. Rosenberg added, "This is highly experimental and we're just learning how to do this, but potentially it is applicable to any cancer". I also, then, lost my hair.
"Two people said she should get chemotherapy while two others said she should not". They are going to change treatment and remove uncertainty for women making decisions, ' Allison Kurian, an oncologist at Stanford University who was not involved in the trial said.
The first study, described as the largest breast cancer treatment trial to date, found that the majority of women with a common form of breast cancer may be able to skip chemotherapy and its toxic, and often debilitating, side effects after surgery depending on their score on a genetic test.
"They were sick all the time", she said.
More than 20,000 women in the United Kingdom are diagnosed with hormone-receptor positive, HER2-negative, node-negative breast cancer annually. Such individualized therapies promise to be more effective and cause fewer side effects than more traditional ones developed for the average patient.
Immunotherapy trains a patient's own immune cells to recognise and fight cancer.
Research has shown that Oncotype Dx and other tests, including Breast Cancer Index and EndoPredict, vary in accuracy, particularly when predicting the long-term risk of someone's cancer coming back. Dr. Laszlo Radvanyi of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research in Toronto described it as "an unprecedented response in such advanced breast cancer".
All of the women in the study, called the Trial Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment (Rx), or TAILORx, had their breast tumors analyzed with a molecular test.
Dr Steven Rosenberg, who led the trial by the US National Cancer Institute, said.
Countless breast cancer patients in the future will be spared millions of dollars of chemotherapy thanks in part to something that millions of Americans did that cost them just pennies: bought a postage stamp.
The team of doctors complemented the cell treatment with "a range of new immunotherapy drugs called "checkpoint inhibitors", Sky News reports, "designed to overcome a cancer's ability to shield itself from the immune system". These different subtypes are treated differently, and can have significantly different outcomes for patients.
Very high scores are at increased risk of the cancer spreading, and those patients have benefited a lot by chemotherapy. Key secondary end points included freedom from recurrence of breast cancer at a distant site, freedom from recurrence of breast cancer at a distant or local-regional site, and overall survival (OS). The researchers gave half the women hormone-blocking drugs alone, and half hormone-blocking drugs and chemotherapy.
It provides important information on a safe way to cut back treatment, an issue that has prompted vigorous debate not only for breast cancer but also for other malignancies.
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