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Patients With Breast Cancer May Be Able To Skip Chemotherapy

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Patients With Breast Cancer May Be Able To Skip Chemotherapy

(CTN News) – There is an emerging test that could enable some women with an aggressive form of breast cancer to skip chemotherapy without harming their health, according to researchers.

A high level of cancer-killing immune cells may improve survival rates and decrease the risk of recurrence for women with early-stage triple-negative breast cancer.

Researchers reported Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association that women who underwent radiation or surgery for their cancer survived despite not receiving follow-up chemotherapy. Researchers have found that tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) are naturally capable of attacking cancer cells.

Lead researcher Dr. Roberto Leon-Ferre, a breast cancer doctor at the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, said that the study’s findings could inspire future clinical trials to examine whether patients with favorable prognoses [high TILs] can avoid intensive chemotherapy regimens.

In about 15% of breast cancer cases,

The cancer doesn’t respond to drugs that target female hormones or HER2, a protein that encourages cancer growth. According to background notes, triple-negative breast cancers are more likely to grow quickly, spread to other parts of the body, and recur after treatment.

In a Mayo Clinic news release, the researchers said that breast cancer patients with a high level of TILs have better outcomes.

No one has yet examined whether TILs can help doctors better plan a patient’s cancer treatment based on TILs.

In routine breast cancer tissue examinations,

TILs are not typically measured or reported, according to co-author and Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center oncologist Dr. Matthew Goetz.

In the study, researchers collected data on nearly 2,000 patients with triple-negative breast cancer who underwent surgery, radiation therapy, but did not receive chemo. Over the course of 18 years, these patients were followed.

The researchers found that 95% of patients whose tumors had high TIL levels survived five years after surgery, while only 82% of patients whose tumors had low TIL levels did.

The results also show that those with high TIL levels have a significantly lower rate of breast cancer recurrence.

According to co-lead researcher Dr. Roberto Salgado, co-chair of the International Immuno-Oncology Biomarker Working Group, the results of this study could lead to the recommendation that TILs be included in pathology reports for early-stage [triple-negative breast cancer] worldwide, since they could assist clinicians and patients in discussing treatment options.

In addition, finding TILs is cheap and easy. Using a microscope, a pathologist can examine a breast tumor biopsy to determine a person’s TIL levels.

In order to treat triple-negative breast cancers, chemotherapy is usually given before or after surgery in people with early-stage tumors. Side effects associated with chemotherapy can be significant for many patients who receive multiple drugs.

Currently, doctors decide whether chemo patients need treatment based on the size of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

In clinical trials, the researchers plan to test whether TILs can be used as a marker of chemotherapy need.


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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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