Immune treatment cured my terminal breast cancer

Participant Adine Usher met last month with study leader Dr. Joseph Sparano at the Montefiore and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York

According to the study, more than 20,000 women in the United Kingdom are diagnosed with hormone-receptor positive, HER2-negative, node-negative breast cancer annually. About 50% of all women diagnosed worldwide have hormone-receptor positive, HER2-negative, node-negative cancer.

Dr. Lisa Carey, a breast specialist at the University of North Carolina's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, said she would be very comfortable advising patients to skip chemo if they were like those in the study who did not benefit from it.

The woman was 49 when she signed up for the clinical trial after several attempts at a cure through conventional treatments had failed, said the study published in the scientific journal Nature Medicine.

Lead author Dr Joseph Sparano, of Montefiore Medical Centre in NY, said: "Any women with early stage breast cancer 75 or younger should have the test and discuss the results of TAILORx with her doctor".

The charity Breast Cancer Now said the findings were "practice-changing".

The TAILORx trial used the Oncotype DX test, now available on the NHS, which allows doctors to predict the likelihood of the breast cancer returning.

To make this therapy the team first tested the tumour genetically and looked at the different properties of the cancer that would make it a target of the immune system. The prospective TAILORx study was created to help to discover whether chemotherapy is beneficial for women with a mid-range recurrence score of 11 to 25, as well as to prospectively confirm that a low recurrence score of 0-10 is associated with a low rate of distant recurrence if patients receive endocrine therapy without adjuvant chemotherapy. However the benefits were unclear for those who fall between which is the vast majority.

The new research now exempts women with scores between 11 to 25 from chemotherapy as well, unless they are premenopausal.

In an article commenting on the results of Dr Rosenberg's trial, Dr Laszlo Radvanyi of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research said they provided evidence that "we are now at the cusp of a major revolution" in cancer immunotherapy. So they don't have to receive chemotherapy.

Nina Barough, the founder and chief executive of Walk the Walk - the breast cancer charity behind the coming Moonwalk Scotland event - said: "I had my cancer 20 years ago and, at that time, scientists knew chemotherapy wasn't suitable for everybody, but what they couldn't tell is who it was suited for and who it wasn't".

The success of this case has raised hopes that the therapy could also be used to treat advanced ovarian and prostate cancers.

It works by looking at the activity levels of 21 genes, which are markers of how aggressive the cancer is. But it has many torturing side-effects including vomiting, hair loss, fatigue, anemia, nerve pain and, in rare cases, heart failure and leukaemia. "If we are going to take a step back" from chemotherapy, he said, "we really had to be sure".

A system of automated twice-daily texts and the ability to use text messaging to receive answers to questions about treatment helps relieve some of the stress of chemotherapy for women with breast cancer, researchers at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia reported Monday. Oncotype DX and other genomic tests have spurred a trend sure to accelerate following Sunday's report.

Thousands of breast cancer patients may be safely spared the "agony of chemotherapy" thanks to new genetic testing.

The researchers are "trying to find ways" to achieve more consistent outcomes, Goff said.

It follows trials of a genetic test that analyses the danger of a tumour. These women should discuss chemotherapy with their doctors, the researchers said. "But it has only been shown to work in a single patient and we now need larger trials to investigate how the T-cell therapy and "checkpoint inhibitors" have worked together to attack the secondary tumours".

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