JUN 05, 2018 08:00 AM PDT

Early Breast Cancer Patients Do Not Gain Response Advantage with Chemotherapy

In light of LabRoots’ theme this month of precision medicine, the most recent news release from the National Cancer Institute is groundbreaking.   Findings from a current clinical trial started in 2006, called TAILORx, indicate that a good portion of women with early hormone receptor (HR) positive, HER2-negative, axillary node negative breast cancer do not gain better cancer reduction rates with chemotherapy and hormone therapy combined compared to hormone therapy alone after surgical remove of tumor.  In fact, according to trial results, 70% of women with this type of common early breast cancer showed no advantage from chemotherapy treatment.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women across the globe.  In the United States, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be over 266,000 new cases of breast cancer in 2018 alone.  While death rates have dropped over the past few decades, death rates in women under 50 years of age have remained steady. 

TAILORx is a long-term phase III clinical trial to examine whether hormone therapy alone is sufficient for treatment of this specific breast cancer type as compared to the chemotherapy/hormone therapy combination traditionally used.  To identify appropriate trial candidates, the researchers used a 21 gene assessment test to assign patients into groups based on breast cancer biomarkers, staging of disease, and recurrence risk.  This is a worldwide trial with groups and sites collaborating in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and Peru.  In total, over 10,200 women having this common but specific HR-positive, HER2-negative, axillary node negative breast cancer across the world were able to participate.

One of the key outcomes of this study will be the ability of providers to personalize their treatment recommendations to patients in the intermediate recurrence risk category.  Historically, oncologists have been able to guide therapeutic plans for women determined to be at high risk or low risk of cancer recurrence; the findings demonstrate that for most patients in this intermediate recurrence risk category, there is no benefit from receiving chemotherapy and hormone therapy.  Chemotherapy is very challenging because of the multitude of side effects and in some cases, the whole person is debilitated during treatment.  In terms of preserving quality of life and potential late-stage effects of chemotherapy including treatment related cancers later in life, having this new evidence will help significant numbers of patients in the short term and long term.  These findings also affect healthcare financial responsibilities for both the patient and the complex system in general.

Sources: National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/press-releases/2018/tailorx-breast-cancer-chemotherapy?cid=eb_govdel, American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer.html, ClinicalTrials.Gov https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00310180?term=TAILORx&rank=2,  

About the Author
  • Mauri S. Brueggeman is a Medical Laboratory Scientist and Educator with a background in Cytogenetics and a Masters in Education from the University of Minnesota. She has worked in the clinical laboratory, taught at the University of Minnesota, and been in post secondary healthcare education administration. She is passionate about advances and leadership in science, medicine, and education.
You May Also Like
JUL 17, 2018
Cancer
JUL 17, 2018
New Small Cell Lung Cancer Subtype Identified
A new subtype of small cell lung cancer is reported to account for potentially 20% of small cell lung cancers diagnosed; it has unique molecular biomarkers and regulatory mechanisms....
AUG 07, 2018
Cancer
AUG 07, 2018
Potential Bcl-2 Targeted Therapy for Relapsed Multiple Myeloma Patients
Targeted therapy for Bcl-2 may be helpful in more than the two lymphoma diagnoses that were recently approved by the FDA....
AUG 29, 2018
Immunology
AUG 29, 2018
Artificial Intelligence Predicts Response to Immunotherapy
Artificial intelligence can process CT scan images to determine biological and clinical information that can predict immunotherapy efficacy thanks to machine learning....
SEP 04, 2018
Cancer
SEP 04, 2018
Metal beads that could help reduce chemotherapy side effects in brain tumor
Brain tumors are one of the most challenging types of cancers to treat. Only 1 in 7 patients will survive the disease, and those survivors will usually suffer from lots of side effects becaus...
SEP 15, 2018
Cancer
SEP 15, 2018
Undescended testicles could lead to testicular cancer and infertility in adult males
An undescended testis (cryptorchidism) is a condition in which one of the testes or both have not descended into the right position in the scrotum at birth and either stay at the abdomen or d...
NOV 14, 2018
Immunology
NOV 14, 2018
Reversing T Cell dysfunction in Cancer: Getting the Body to Fight its own Battles
Using the power of the immune system to eliminate cancerous cells has long the been the goal of immuno-oncology. Immune cells naturally recognize, destroy,...
Loading Comments...