70 per cent of early-stage breast cancer patients may avoid agony of chemotherapy: Study

Thousands of breast cancer patients are likely to benefit under a new precision medicinal approach

70 per cent of early-stage breast cancer patients may avoid agony of chemotherapy: Study

Cancer is dreadful and stressful for patients, be it skin cancer or breast cancer. To top it up, patients have to go through chemotherapy which is painful and has its own side-effects. Many patients skip chemotherapy owing to its pain. However, henceforth, breast cancer patients will not have to undergo chemotherapy, thanks to the Oncotype DX test.

The TAILORx study, the largest ever breast cancer treatment trial was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in June. It was supported by the United States National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and designed and led by ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group.

The trial enrolled 10,723 women with breast cancer from six countries across the globe. It used the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score test that assesses the expression of 21 genes associated with breast cancer recurrence to assign women with early-stage, HR-positive, HER2-negative, axillary lymph node-negative breast cancer to the most appropriate and effective post-operative treatment.

The TAILORx study definitively established that chemotherapy may be spared in 70 per cent for these patients. Importantly, 30 per cent of early-stage breast cancer patients will derive benefit from chemotherapy, including women of any age.

What is Oncotype DX test?

This test analyses the tumour samples that are removed during surgery and provides a score between 1 to 100 on the likelihood of cancer relapsing.

For the Oncotype DX test, during surgery, doctors take out a sample of the cancer tissue. This sample is sent to the lab where 21 genes associated with the disease are assessed to predict the risk of recurrence.

Padma Bhushan and oncologist Dr Suresh Advani, said that because of advanced science, scientists are able to fight against cancer in various types.

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