When it comes to chemotherapy treatment for women whose breast cancer has spread to their lymph nodes, the estrogen status of their tumors matters, says a team of researchers in the April 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Analyzing data from three clinical trials with a total of 6,644 patients, they determined that chemotherapy works much better in breast cancer that is estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) than many people think, and conversely, doesnt work as well in estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) cancer as believed, says the studys lead author Donald Berry, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Applied Mathematics at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
This conclusion will come as a surprise to many oncologists, Berry says. Women with "node-positive" breast cancer routinely are given chemotherapy, regardless of their tumor type. Women who have ER+ tumors are also given tamoxifen, a drug which inhibits estrogen use by the cancer cells.
Nancy Jensen | EurekAlert!
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