Breast cancer: Reducing the risk of unnecessary chemo
November 8, 2010
Published in Nature Communications, NRC researchers have developed a tool to determine which breast cancer patients have little risk of their disease recurring. The tool -- an algorithm that identifies "gene expression signatures" or biomarkers that can predict low risk tumors with 87-100 percent accuracy in different groups of patients -- has the potential to virtually eliminate unnecessary chemotherapy.
How is gene expression test different from Oncotype DX?
In future, the algorithm may also help pave the way toward personalized therapy for cancer patients. "On average, every cancer patient has 14-16 mutated genes," says Dr. Wang. "Based on their unique genetic signature, we hope to figure out which mutations to target to block the cancer process in each patient."
This type of algorhythmic thinking has more in common with my general approach than a lot of the brokering of fear about recurrence being worse than the original cancer.
Examples of chemotherapy combinations used to treat breast cancer include:
cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), methotrexate (Amethopterin, Mexate, Folex), and fluorouracil (Fluorouracil, 5-Fu, Adrucil) (this therapy is called CMF)
cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and fluorouracil (this therapy is called CAF)
doxorubicin (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide (this therapy is called AC)
doxorubicin (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide with paclitaxel (Taxol)
doxorubicin (Adriamycin), followed by CMF
cyclophosphamide, epirubicin (Ellence), and fluorouracil
(the brand name of the drug is shown in parenthesis)
Other chemotherapy drugs commonly used for treating women with breast cancer include docetaxel (Taxotere), vinorelbine (Navelbine), and gemcitabine (Gemzar), and capecitabine (Xeloda).