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Gene Tests Identify Breast Cancer Patients Who Can Skip Chemotherapy

The researchers estimated that their findings, published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, would apply to 35,000 to 40,000 women a year in the United States, and 60,000 to 70,000 in Europe. They are patients with early disease who because of tumor size, cancerous lymph nodes and other factors would normally be prescribed chemo.


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"The new study is one of the largest and most rigorous trials of genomic testing, and offers reassurance to doctors and patients that the technology can be trusted to help identify patients who do not need chemo. But an editorial accompanying the report said the study was not the final word, and additional research now underway would provide more clarity. Although women who skipped chemo had low recurrence rates, their rates were slightly higher than those of women who had chemo.

A test called Oncotype DX is widely used in the United States. The new study used another, called MammaPrint, which is used less often. The tests cost several thousand dollars, and insurance coverage varies."

This type of genetic testing seems promising.

I wonder if it can be useful in detecting other cancers that do not need chemo too. 

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