Advanced breast cancer 'eradicated' in world first

Participant Adine Usher met last month with study leader Dr. Joseph Sparano at the Montefiore and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York

A leading oncologist said the findings will lead to a "fundamental change" in how the disease is treated. This has the potential to spare thousands of women from the bad side effects of chemotherapy, including nausea, hair loss, and heart and nerve damage.

Instead of chemo therapy, most women with early stage breast cancer can take a hormone blocking pill with the same results, Figueredo said.

Catherine Floyd, Cancer Survivor, says, "I had nausea".

With the same technique, researchers have also been able to shrink hard-to-treat tumors in six other patients with colon and cervical cancers according to Steven Rosenberg, chief of surgery at the National Cancer Institute where the therapy is being studied.

The experiment led to "complete durable regression" of the cancer that had spread to Judy Perkins' liver, the team said, writing in the journal Nature Medicine. Among women younger than 50, outcomes were similar when gene test scores were 15 or lower. "While this practice has contributed to declining rates in breast cancer mortality, "...the majority of patients may receive chemotherapy unnecessarily".

Another study presented at Sunday's conference found that Merck's immunotherapy drug Keytruda worked better than chemo as initial treatment for most people with the most common type of lung cancer, and with far fewer side effects, noted USA Today.

Lead author Dr Joseph Sparano, of Montefiore Medical Centre in NY, said: "Any women with early stage breast cancer 75 or younger should have the test and discuss the results of TAILORx with her doctor".

More news: Why Serena Williams has withdrawn from the French Open

In past studies. doctors looked back at the data for patients in this third group and determined that they would benefit from chemotherapy. "Most women in this situation don't need treatment beyond surgery and hormone therapy", he said, and "the rest of them are receiving chemotherapy unnecessarily".

Past research has shown that women with scores between 0 and 10 could skip chemotherapy, while those with scores over 25 benefited from adding chemotherapy to their hormonal treatment plan.

Other less common but more serious side effects of chemotherapy include bone loss and osteoporosis, heart and vision problems.

The subset of breast tumours that form the focus of this study are driven by hormones (oestrogen), do not respond to drugs such as trastuzumab (also known as Herceptin - an engineered antibody that targets HER2), and haven't yet spread to the lymph nodes. "It was all gone", she said.

She is the principal investigator for the Cancer Research Consortium of West Michigan, an organization that works with hospitals across the region to conduct research trials for cancer patients. "Now that we know many of these women can safely avoid chemotherapy, we can spare them the physical and emotional effects that chemotherapy can have".

Jennifer Litton, an associate professor and oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, told USA Today that the results will help patients and their doctors make more informed decisions.

"Oncologists have been getting much smarter about dialing back treatment so that it doesn't do more harm than good", Steven Katz, a University of MI researcher who examines medical decision-making, told the Washington Post.

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