How can you know if you actually need chemo after surgery for early-stage breast cancer?
A study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (August 24, 2016) found that almost 50 percent of patients previously considered at high risk for recurrence may actually be at low risk.
The researchers used a 70-gene test called MammaPrint to evaluate 6,700 patients with localized breast cancer that had not spread beyond three lymph nodes.
Based on traditional studies of tumor size and patient age, half of the patients were considered at high risk of recurrence. But the gene-based MammaPrint test found that roughly 1,500 were actually low-risk.
Clearly, there’s a conflict between the new MammaPrint gene-based findings and traditional methods. Which is right?
The researchers divided the 1,500 patients identified by MammaPrint as low-risk into two groups. One group received chemo, while the other patients received none. Five years later, the survival rate of the group that received chemo was only 1.5 percent higher than the chemo-free group.
The researchers concluded that approximately 46 percent of women with breast cancer who’ve been classified as high risk using traditional clinical methods may not actually need chemo at all.
For more on Dr. Marcel’s work, click HERE.