"Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer of women in Arkansas, one in eight".
"Oncologists have been getting much smarter about dialing back treatment so that it doesn't do more harm than good", said Steven Katz, a University of MI researcher who examines medical decision-making.
About 70 percent of women diagnosed with the early stages of one of the most common forms of breast cancer might not need chemotherapy as part of treatment, according to the results of a long-awaited study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago Sunday.
"This new study really gives us good reliable data based on almost 7,000 patients, that if you have an intermediate risk score, you don't benefit from chemotherapy", said Dr. John Rimmer, Breast Cancer Surgeon. The genetic testing gives cancer a "score" from 0 to 100.
"This is a really big deal", said Dr. Adam Brufsky, a coauthor on the new study and a professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.
The same decade-long study had previously confirmed that patients at low risk, as determined by a genomic test of their tumors, can skip chemotherapy.More news: Amid growing spat with Facebook, Apple increases privacy controls
"We are creating a new drug for every patient, targeting the unique mutations in that same patient's cancer". If patients with higher scores receive chemotherapy, this risk of recurrence will be significantly reduced, enabling more patients to be cured.
"It's a hard enough time for a woman, and they look at you and say, 'I want to do what you think is best, ' and you have to say, 'Unfortunately, you're in a group where there's uncertainty, ' " Albain said.
The study is limited in some ways.
A promising experimental treatment has left a Florida woman's advanced breast cancer in remission. The National Cancer Institute provided $36 million, and $4.5 million of it came from the money collected from the stamp.
Usually, after the removal of the tumor, many women undergo chemotherapy combined with hormonal treatment to prevent any return of the cancer.
The study did note that these findings may not apply to premenopausal women.More news: Guatemala volcano: At least 25 dead, hundreds injured in eruption
For Litton, the new study will make a tremendous difference in breast cancer treatment for many women.
Chemo and hormone therapy didn't work but this one-time treatment with more personalized immunotherapy did work for Perkins.
They found these women may benefit from surgery and hormone therapy and may not have to go through chemotherapy treatments.
About 17 percent of women had high-risk scores and were advised to have chemo. After years of follow-up, the data showed that most patients who did not get chemotherapy fared as well as those who did.
Perkins said that she could feel the tumors shrinking within the first week of the white blood cells having been pumped into her body.
The new approach - a modified version of a technique known as adoptive cell transfer (ACT) - is being developed by researchers at the National Cancer Institute in the United States, and involves sequencing the DNA and RNA of tumours to try to identify mutations that were unique to her specific cancer. In particular, the treatment hasn't been hugely successful in treating common epithelial cancers.More news: Tyson Fury confirms comeback fight - and sends warning to Anthony Joshua
If doctors had recommended she skip chemo based on the gene test, "I would have accepted that", she said. In fact several studies have shown that immunotherapy works well in some patients and tend to fail in many patients.