According to World Health Organization, 570,000 women died of cancer in 2015. To counteract these deaths, researchers set out to find better treatment methods. Well, the latest breakthrough on endocrine therapy could soon replace the common chemotherapy treatment.
The revelations, via a publication by the New England Journal of Medicine, indicate that genetics can be used to reduce the recurrence of hormone-receptor-positive ailment. So far, the treatment has been useful in reducing breast cancer mortality.
The nitty-gritty of adjuvant endocrine therapy
Researchers and doctors have been working on alternative ways of treating breast cancer. This has culminated into the launch of the new Adjuvant endocrine therapy.
Basically, the process integrates hormones to increase invasive free survival among patients. The tumor cells, classified as endocrine receptor positive(ER positive), are blocked from spreading to uninfected hormones in the body.
To arrive at this conclusion, the researchers picked and categorized 10,273 women suffering from early breast cancer/human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2). The patients were then monitored for nine years.
Out of the 10273 women, 6711 of them fell on the middle range of 11 and 25. The range used was on the basis of the 21 genes recurrence score. The group was then randomly sub-divided into two subgroups. One was introduced to chemo whereas the other used hormone therapy.
It was established that recurrence from adjuvant therapy was at 83.3% compared to chemotherapies 84.3%. Additionally, 94.5% (recurrence from the distant site) was achieved with the hormonal treatment visa vie 95% for chemotherapy.
Patients’ eligible for hormone treatment
After reading through the recurrence statistics, many patients may choose to abscond chemotherapy. However, there are numerous cases where one needs to use chemo to compliment this new treatment.
One is that the treatment works best for young women with early-stage hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. It’s from monitoring these patients that researchers received the good news. Adjuvant endocrine therapy curbs hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer in women.
The downside of chemotherapy
Many patients, especially those familiar with chemo, dread undergoing the process due to the repercussions. The side effects include;
- Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV)
- Hair loss
- Early menopause
- Mouth sores
- Loss of appetite and weight gain.
According to Baselga, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering, chemo treatment has saved lives but at the same time brought complications. “We need to be precise on when to use it and who to recommend it to. The era of one-size-fits-all is basically coming to an end, which is great news, “he explained.
Medics weigh in on the matter
For decades, medical practitioners have been working on breast cancer treatment. This has yielded both positive and negative results. However, the latest breakthrough has been warmly by medics all over.
Dr. Joseph Sparano, a professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and lead researcher of the study expressed his optimism about the therapy. “This has very important health implications. It helps direct patients to the right therapy so that we’re treating the right people with the right therapy at the right time.”
Others like Dr. Kathy Albain, an oncology professor at Loyola University Medical Centre, see the reprieve from this breakthrough. “Our certainty is over,” she says.
Considering that adjuvant endocrine therapy is a new treatment method, more tests are expected to be conducted. It’s from here that we will be able to have an extensive roll out. All in all, this achievement is commendable and could completely shift breast cancer treatment.