Circulating Tumor Cell Numbers May Help Decide Best Therapy for Metastatic Breast Cancer, Phase 3 Trial Shows

Circulating Tumor Cell Numbers May Help Decide Best Therapy for Metastatic Breast Cancer, Phase 3 Trial Shows
The number of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) could help doctors choose between hormone therapy or chemotherapy for the first-line treatment of metastatic breast cancer patients whose tumors produce estrogen receptor (ER) but are negative for the HER2 factor, a Phase 3 trial suggests. These findings were recently presented at the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in San Antonio. "Two main treatment options exist for patients newly diagnosed with metastatic, ER+, HER2- breast cancer: hormone therapy or chemotherapy (eventually followed by maintenance hormone therapy). There is, unfortunately, no validated predictive biomarker to guide that choice," Francois-Clement Bidard, MD, PhD, professor of medical oncology at Institut Curie and the University of Versailles, said in a press release. When doctors have to decide on a treatment, they prefer hormone therapy because there are fewer side effects associated with it, but for patients who have a bad prognosis, it is better to start with chemotherapy. However, because there are no reliable predictors of bad prognosis, different doctors might propose different treatments for the same patient. In the past decades, the number of tumor cells in circulation have been suggested as one of the strongest predictors of prognosis in this patient population. Researchers designed a Phase 3 trial (NCT01710605) to determine if CTC count could be used as an alternative to clinical
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