‘This life-changing breakthrough is absolutely wonderful news as it could liberate thousands of girls from the agony of chemotherapy,’ UK cancer specialist nurse Rachel Rawson said
Most women with early phase breast cancer could avoid the risks of baldness, infertility, chronic pain and even death which comes with chemotherapy thanks to genetic testing, a radical US clinical trial has found.
Doctors are now able to confidently advise tens of thousands more girls with the most common type of breast cancer they can forgo the”agonies of chemotherapy” completely, without damaging their odds of survival, cancer charities said.
Presenting the findings of the biggest ever treatment trial for breast cancer, and among the first to test personalised treatment using a patient’s genetics, the US authors stated”the times of doubt are over”.
In the united kingdom about 55,000 breast cancer cases are diagnosed each year and around 23,000 are classed as endocrine receptor-positive, HER2-negative that this trial centered on.
“Our analysis shows that chemotherapy may be avoided in about 70 percent of those women when its usage is directed by the evaluation, thus limiting chemotherapy into the 30 per cent of women we could predict will gain from it,” said lead author Dr Joseph Sparano in the Albert Einstein Cancer Centre in New York.
The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), that decides what treatments the NHS will fund, is now reviewing its guidance regarding the Oncotype DX test employed in this trial – which has been around the NHS since 2013.
UK cancer experts said it was crucial that these latest findings have been factored to its final report, to make sure girls in the NHS are receiving world top care.
By studying 21 genetic markers in biopsied tumour cells the Oncotype DX test can determine how active the tumour is and give it a score from one to 100 for its risk of spreading elsewhere and returning.
Women whose recurrence score is lowest (10 or under ) can be safely started on milder, oestrogen-blocking hormone therapy while those who have a rating of 26 or above benefit from chemotherapy too, to wipe out residual cancer cells.