July 11, 2018 – Breast Ca and Genes


Anchor lead: A genetic assay can help many with early breast cancer avoid chemotherapy, Elizabeth Tracey reports

A widely available 21-gene assay can help women with so-called intermediate risk breast cancer avoid chemotherapy and simply stick to endocrine therapy, a study reported recently in the New England Journal of Medicine found. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, describes the results.

Nelson: The addition of chemotherapy did not help these women at all, followed all the way to nine years, suggesting that in that group, which is a very large group, that you might not need the chemotherapy. Using this gene panel you take the ones with the low score, they don’t need any therapy. The ones with this intermediate score they do well with the this endocrine therapy alone, and the ones with the high score are the ones who should get the chemotherapy.  :25

Nelson says genetic testing thus helps the majority of women with this type of breast cancer avoid chemotherapy, and that’s a great outcome. It should also result in huge cost savings as the number of women who need chemotherapy is vastly reduced. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.