New test could spare chemotherapy for thousands with breast cancer

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New test could spare chemotherapy for thousands with breast cancer
CREDIT: Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

A NEW test developed by British researchers could spare chemotherapy for thousands of women with breast cancer.

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The £60 test is said to predict the likelihood that the disease will return by measuring a patient’s response to short-term hormone therapy drugs.

The drugs, which are given to stop the production of oestrogen, which can stimulate tumour growth, and the test, could provide much-needed reassurance to those who have undergone surgery and are worried that cancer could return.


While on the drugs for a two-week period, the tests can predict how likely the disease is to return after surgery, by cleverly measuring changes in the growth rate of cancer cells.

This means the new test could reassure women at low risk of relapse and avoid further chemotherapy treatment, or potentially other treatments.


The findings, published in the Lancet Oncology journal, were based on a study of 4,480 thousand patients with breast cancer in 130 NHS hospitals.

Professor Arnie Purushotham, of Cancer Research UK, said: “A new way to help predict if [breast] cancer will return means doctors could monitor these patients more closely – catching any sign of cancer as early as possible is crucial for improving survival.

This research could also have implications for how doctors decide to treat early-stage, hormone-positive breast cancer – potentially triaging women depending on the risk of their cancer coming back.”


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