Some Breast Cancer Patients with Low Genetic Risk May Not Need Chemotherapy, Study Suggests

Some Breast Cancer Patients with Low Genetic Risk May Not Need Chemotherapy, Study Suggests
Nearly half of early-stage breast cancer patients classified as high clinical risk may not require chemotherapy, according to the results of a Phase 3 clinical trial conducted in several cancer centers in Europe. The study, "70-Gene Signature as an Aid to Treatment Decisions in Early-Stage Breast Cancer," published in The New England Journal of Medicine, shows that patients associated with a low risk of disease recurrence -- according to the results of a genetic test called MammaPrint -- had very similar prognoses whether they received chemotherapy or not. “For the first time, a prospective, randomized trial shows that the active biology of breast cancer in an individual, as assessed by the MammaPrint test, can assist in making a well-informed choice to undergo chemotherapy treatment or not,” said co-first author Laura van ’t Veer, PhD, an inventor of MammaPrint and director of Applied Genomics at the University of California at San Francisco Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Women with early stage breast cancer are commonly treated with either adjuvant chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, HER2 inhibitors, or combinations of these drugs when appropriate. Treatment decisions are currently based on conventional measures, such as tumor size, presence of hormone receptors, and metastasis to lymph nodes, as well as patient characteristics, such as age or menopausal status. However, the individual biologic characteristics of the tumor are not taken into account and, as a result, many patients with breast cancer are overtr
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