New study raises questions about the efficacy of chemotherapy for women with most common form of breast cancer.
Flip For Why It Matters
‘We can spare thousands and thousands of women from getting toxic treatment that really wouldn’t benefit them. This is very powerful. It really changes the standard of care.’
Dr. Ingrid A. Mayer, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, an author of the study that started in 2006 and included more than 10,000 women.
Basics of Study
- Focus: early stage tumors (before cancer has chance to spread).
- Doctors use a genetic test to predict cancer reoccurrence – results determine treatment.
- Mid-range readings often got recommended chemo & hormone therapy; study focused on this group and now challenges the use of chemo.
- 70%: NO benefit from chemo.
Something To Consider:
- Affirmation: Breast cancer study from 2016 found little difference in outcome between patients treated with chemo vs. those without; genetic testing on tumor also used to determine treatment.
- One caveat:A Women under 50 with breast cancer *may* benefit from chemo, but docs don’t know why.
Some suggest this isn’t a move away from simply chemo; but a move toward more personalized medicine. The WSJ points out this is part of a trend in cancer treatment – that has doctors leaning towards (and proving) less invasive care is healthier and less costly.
- Doctors Suggest Less Chemo, Surgery for Some Cancer Treatments Researchers explore leaner approaches aimed at sparing patients tough side effects—and costs: https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-cancer-treatments-less-is-sometimes-more-1528025400
- Good News for Women With Breast Cancer: Many Don”t Need Chemo: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/03/health/breast-cancer-chemo.html
- TAILORx trial finds most women with early breast cancer do not benefit from chemotherapy: https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/press-releases/2018/tailorx-breast-cancer-chemotherapy
- Previous Study 2016:A Gene Tests Identify Breast Cancer Patients Who Can Skip Chemotherapy, Study Says: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/25/science/gene-tests-identify-breast-cancer-patients-who-can-skip-chemotherapy-study-says.html
by Jenna Lee,