Women With Early Stage Breast Cancer Could Be Spared Chemotherapy Guided By A Breast Cancer Gene Test

Contributed by: Dr Wong Chiung Ing

A study presented at the ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) annual meeting in June 2018 shows that many women with early stage breast cancer can skip chemotherapy.

The Trial Assigning IndividuaLized Options for TReatment (TAILORx) study enrolled 10,273 women with hormone receptor-positive, HER2 negative, axillary node-negative breast cancer. Their tumour samples were analysed using the 21 gene-expression test (Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score) and assigned a risk score (on a scale of 0-100) for cancer recurrence within 10 years.

Women with a low recurrence score (0-10) receive only hormone therapy and those with a high recurrence score (26-100) receive hormone therapy and chemotherapy. 6,711 women who had an intermediate recurrence score (11-25) were randomly assigned to receive hormone therapy alone or hormone therapy and chemotherapy.

After a follow up of seven and a half years, the study shows that hormone therapy alone was as good as a combination of chemotherapy and hormone therapy in women with intermediate risk of recurrence. However, women 50 years or younger do still derive some chemotherapy benefit and this option should still need to be discussed.

Dr Wong Chiung Ing, Senior Consultant, Medical Oncologist said, “This study shows that in women with early stage breast cancer, chemotherapy may be omitted when guided by the test. About 70 percent of patients in this category may thus be spared of the side effects of chemotherapy.”

This breast cancer gene test is available after consultation with specialists at all PCC clinics.
TAGS cancer latest breakthrough, hormone therapy