New Breast Cancer Study Supports A More Gentle Approach to Treatment

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine this month is good news for women who want more personalized care for treatment of breast cancer.

10,000 women were followed over 9 years. These women had early stage, receptive to hormones and negative to a receptor called HER2, all characteristics of the most common type of breast cancer. They then had genetic testing and given a score that predicts risk of breast cancer recurrence after surgery. Low scorers can be treated with hormone therapy and high scorers do better with chemotherapy and hormone therapy. The middle scorers were divided into 2 groups – chemo plus hormones or hormones only. After 9 years, the cancer-free rate for both of the groups that scored in the middle after genetic testing were similar, 83-84%.

Side effects from chemotherapy can be very disruptive, so this is study is very exciting for women desiring a more gentle approach.

Lisa Lilienfield, MD

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