Bonni Guerin, MD, medical director, Breast Cancer Treatment and Prevention, Overlook Medical Center, and her patients have helped change the treatment paradigm for the most common type of breast cancer. Based on results of the landmark TAILORx trial, many women for whom doctors would otherwise recommend chemotherapy in addition to hormone therapy will no longer have to receive chemotherapy. Dr. Guerin, Overlook Medical Center’s principal investigator for the clinical trial, and her team recruited more participants for this massive international study than any other cancer center in the region (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware).
“As a center at the forefront of research, we are proud to be a major contributor to finding answers to a central question about breast cancer treatment,” says Dr. Guerin. “This study affords us an unprecedented level of precision and clarity in making informed choices in treatment recommendations based on the individual fingerprint of each woman’s cancer. This is a great advance toward providing the most precise, individualized and effective care.”
Results of the 10,000-participant trial were presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The groundbreaking study showed that up to 70 percent of women with hormone-driven breast cancer that has not spread and does not contain HER2 protein may not benefit from chemotherapy. Using genetic testing to guide them, Dr. Guerin and researchers at nearly 1,200 sites on five continents randomly assigned breast cancer patients into two groups: One group received hormone therapy alone, while the second group received hormone therapy plus chemotherapy. They followed study participants for up to 10 years.
For this group of patients at intermediate risk, hormone therapy prevented their cancer from recurring or spreading to their lymph nodes as effectively as hormone and chemotherapy combined. While these results held true for women age 50 or older, some patients who were premenopausal and/or under 50 were found to benefit from chemotherapy.
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