How Precision Medicine Helped Breast Cancer Treatment

Tumor genome testing has reduced overtreatment for breast cancer and maximized chemotherapy benefits, according to a study

(RxWiki News) Advances in precision medicine have improved breast cancer treatment, according to a new study.

This study, published in the journal Cancer by University of Michigan School of Nursing researchers, looked at the effects of tumor genome testing.

Precision medicine is an approach to health care that takes into account the differences in individual patients' genetics and targets treatments based on those differences.

Tumor genome testing looks at specific characteristics of patients' cancer to determine the risk of the cancer coming back and the estimated effectiveness of chemotherapy. The authors of this study said the insights gained from this testing can help reduce unnecessary treatment and boost the benefits of chemotherapy by allowing doctors to target particular cancer cases more specifically.

More than 1,500 women who received breast cancer treatment responded to a survey the study authors sent out — 778 had received tumor genome testing. Based on their scores, nearly half of the patients who received the testing were advised not to take chemotherapy. 

That could mean many women were spared unnecessary chemotherapy, which can be hard on the body, these researchers noted.

The results also may suggest the chemotherapy was more targeted to patients who would benefit from it most. 

The surveyed patients said they were largely satisfied with the recommendations and treatments they received.

The study authors did note, however, that many women did not recall the results of the cancer-related tests they received. They said more patient education is necessary to increase awareness about precision medicine.

Information on study funding sources and potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.