KeepHealthCare.ORG – ‘Uncertainty is over’ for breast cancer patients considering chemotherapy
For many breast cancer patients, one of the most difficult treatment decisions is whether or not to go through chemotherapy.
Now, the choice is getting easier for some patients. A study published [June 3] finds that many women with early-stage invasive breast cancer could safely forgo chemotherapy, if they score in the midrange or lower for risk that their cancer will recur, as measured by a commonly used genomic test.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, finds that patients who fall in the intermediate risk zone do as well with hormone therapy alone as with chemo plus hormone therapy after surgery. “[The findings] are both important and significant, and also practice-changing,” says, Dr. José Baselga, a medical oncologist.
The genomic test for this type of breast cancer, called Oncotype DX, measures the expression of 21 genes in tumor tissue removed at the time of surgery and predicts risk of recurrence on a scale of 0 to 100.
This means in practice doctors can tell 70 percent of these patients they don’t need to agonize over whether to get chemo, says study co-author Dr. Kathy Albain, a hematology and oncology professor at Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois. “Our uncertainty is over,” she says.
Read full, original post: For Some Breast Cancer Patients, The Chemo Decision Just Got Easier