Saturday, June 10, 2017

No survival benefit from surgery for advanced breast cancer

CANCER DIGEST – June 10, 2017 – A new Austrian study could change treatment for women diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer that has spread throughout the body.

Based on several analyses of past studies, current therapy starts with surgery to remove the main breast tumors followed by chemotherapy to try to kill the remaining tumors dispersed throughout the body, or hormone therapy to block or prevent hormones from feeding further tumor growth, called hormone therapy.

In the new study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting last week in Chicago, the researchers at Medical University of Vienna and Vienna General Hospital showed that the practice provided no better outcomes compared to patients treated with chemotherapy or hormone therapy alone.

In the study designed to compare the two treatment approaches, 45 women were randomly assigned to the surgery plus chemo or hormone therapy and 45 women received chemo or hormone therapy alone. After making adjustments for differences in age, HER2 status, hormone and other factors, they found that after a median followup of 37.5 months, median survival in the surgery group was 34.6 months compared to 54.8 months for the no-surgery group.

"Our work shows that an operation does not offer patients any advantage in terms of survival," says lead author of the study Florian Fitzal, head of Breast Surgery at the Department of Surgery at MedUni. "This means that, in the interests of giving them better quality-of-life, many of them could be spared this stressful procedure. This could cause a paradigm shift in the treatment of primary metastatic breast cancer."

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