A new study revealed that women with early-stage breast cancer might not need to undergo chemotherapy.
According to a study conducted on a group of over 10,000 women who contain specific features about their tumors, those with early-stage forms of breast cancer could forego chemotherapy. Apparently, those who are receiving the said treatment under current medical standards don’t actually need it.
“We can spare thousands and thousands of women from getting toxic treatment that really wouldn’t benefit them,” Dr. Ingrid A. Mayer, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center and author of the study, was quoted as saying. “This is very powerful. It really changes the standard of care.”
The results of what is considered the largest breast cancer treatment trial ever made were recently presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in the United States.
The study reportedly found that gene tests on the tumor samples could identify the women who are eligible to skip chemotherapy. As an alternative, these women could take a drug that is capable of blocking the estrogen hormone or stopping the body from making it.
“The results of our trial suggest that the 21-gene-assay may identify up to 85 percent of women with early breast cancer who can be spared adjuvant chemotherapy, especially those who are older than 50 years of age,” the authors wrote in their paper published in the journal The New England Journal of Medicine.
The estrogen-blocking drug known as tamoxifen and other related medicines are currently being used in performing endocrine therapy. This therapy has allegedly been an essential treatment for many women as it lowers the risk of cancer recurrence, new tumors from appearing, and even death from the disease.
While this new study is good news for many women around the world, experts firmly said that there are still women with breast cancer that have to go through chemotherapy treatment.
“There will still be some women that need chemotherapy. Women with a higher recurrent score, there’s some doubt about whether these results are fully implementable in the women under 50, just because it’s a different hormone environment, and they haven’t yet gone through menopause and it may be that the chemotherapy helps to bring about a change in their hormone environment,” Prof Sanchia Aranda, CEO of Cancer Council Australia, explained in an interview with Starts at 60.