Results of an Israeli study published in the prestigious international journal Nature Breast Cancer indicate that chemotherapy can be avoided in women with breast cancer discovered early on.
According to a report in Yediot Aharonot, researchers for a decade followed 1,365 women in Israel who had the two most common types of cancer (ER positive and HER2 negative). In all of them, cancer was discovered early on.
As part of the study, women underwent an oncotype test in which they were each rated on a scale of 0 to 100 as to the risk level of recurrent cancer. Every patient with a rating of 25 and under was advised to forgo chemotherapy. In nearly 100 percent of women, the disease does not recur, even though they do not receive chemotherapy.
The newspaper explains that a breast oncotype is a unique molecular test performed on tumor tissue taken from the patient during biopsy or at the time of initial surgery. The test measures the biological profile of the tumor by measuring the expression of 21 different genes in the tumor cells.
The results of the study indicate that among 97.4% of women who underwent chemotherapy after the test, the disease did not recur. The mortality rate among the patient group was only 0.7%.
This is great news since chemotherapy often has serious health consequences over the course of years. One of the high risks it poses is serious damage to the immune system, which can be life-threatening.
The study was carried out by senior oncologists, including Dr. Dr. Shulamit Rizel of Assuta Hospital, Dr. Dr. Noa Ben Baruch of Kaplan Hospital and Dr. Lior Shoshan-Gutman, CEO of "Oncotest".
Professor Solomon Stettmer, director of the research unit at Beilinson's Oncology Institute and among researchers, said Yediot Aharonot that "the research proves beyond any doubt that chemotherapy can be avoided by most women who have breast cancer detected early on."