In a remarkable first, woman’s advanced breast cancer is eradicated

The majority of women with the most common type of early-stage breast cancer can safely skip chemotherapy after surgery, according to a highly anticipated new report.

A decade-long study revealed that women who take a cancer recurrence gene test and yield results of low or intermediate risk of cancer recurrence - which effects more than 85,000 women a year - can forego chemotherapy altogether, according to CNN. Women 50 or younger can avoid chemo if their scores are lower than 16, said lead author Joseph Sparano, associate director for clinical research at the Albert Einstein Cancer Center in NY.

Avoiding chemotherapy may come as a relief to many women who are diagnosed with breast cancer, as the treatment comes with a number of side effects, including nausea, hair loss and anemia.

For women 50 or younger, chemotherapy is unwarranted for those with an Oncotype score under 16 - about 40 percent of breast cancers in this age group, the researchers said.

Until now, women have faced considerable uncertainty about whether to add chemo to hormone therapy after a diagnosis with hormone-receptor positive, HER-2 negative breast cancer when found at an early stage, before it has spread to the lymph nodes.

Other experts agreed that while these initial results would need to be confirmed in larger clinical trials, they hold promise for a variety of particularly stubborn forms of cancer. Oncotype DX has spurred the trend, and is likely to accelerate it.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute have put a patient with metastatic breast cancer into complete remission by using a new approach to immunotherapy.

After years of follow up, their results were almost identical with women who received hormone therapy yielding a 93.9 per cent survival rate and those with both therapies a 93.8 per cent survival rate.

An experimental therapy that extracts and multiplies powerful immune-system cells from inside tumors eradicated a patient's breast cancer, a scientific first that could lead to new ways of treating malignancies that have resisted all other efforts.

The rate that women who had also received chemotherapy was more than 84 percent, a statistically insignificant difference.

Results from this study suggest many women with this specific type of tumor do not receive any additional benefit from having chemotherapy in combination with endocrine therapy, compared to endocrine therapy alone.

Lisa Carey, a breast specialist at the University of North Carolina's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, said she would be very comfortable advising patients to skip chemo if they were like those in the study who did not benefit from it.

Then, five and nine years later, the researchers checked in on how the women were doing.

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.

Perkins hopes she's cured - a word she is nearly afraid to utter - but knows that the cancer "could come back tomorrow". Your odds of being cured are terrific, and you don't need chemotherapy because you don't need it. The money was used to pay for the gene test, which costs more than $4,000 per person.

The test examines the activity of 21 genes of breast cancer tissue and assigns it a score between 0 and 100.

Dr Ring said the trial's reuslts would likely have an immediate impact on United Kingdom practice and represented a significant shake-up in the treatment of early-stage breast cancer. Not only will they be able to dodge the side-effects of chemotherapy but they'll also feel more confident in their decision.

Women can have the tendency to turn towards chemo, even if the results have a relatively small benefit, Albain says.

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