Early-stage Patients at Intermediate Risk of Cancer’s Return Can Safely Skip Chemotherapy, Study Suggests

Early-stage Patients at Intermediate Risk of Cancer’s Return Can Safely Skip Chemotherapy, Study Suggests
Women with early stage breast cancer that is hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative, and lymph node-negative, but who — based on a 21-gene expression assay — are thought to be at intermediate risk of recurrence have similar outcomes regardless of whether they received chemotherapy after surgery or not, a new study at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer reports. While the study needs further validation, its results suggest that women at intermediate recurrence risk may skip chemotherapy as standard of care. The retrospective and single-institution study, "Outcomes in patients with early-stage breast cancer who underwent a 21-gene expression assay," was published in the journal Cancer. Women with early stage breast cancer have long been treated with aggressive therapies, with many stage 1 and 2 cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. But researchers are starting to understand that for this patient population, less is more. "Through years of research discoveries, it became clear that we were over-treating many women with breast cancer, especially those with early-stage disease. In addition to chemotherapy's obvious side effects, there were also long-term complications for these women as survivors," Carlos H. Barcenas, MD, assistant professor, Breast Medical Oncology, the study's corresponding author, said in a press release. In the Phase 3 clinical trial, named TAILORx (
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