Breast cancer: this biological treatment can replace chemotherapy

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Elia Tabuenca García
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For some breast cancers, chemotherapy therapy could be replaced by a much less invasive biological treatment.

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Chemo could also be avoided in more aggressive breast cancers. In fact, a Spanish research group specializing in oncology has revealed that for some breast cancers chemotherapy therapy could be replaced by a much less invasive biological treatment.

The study, called Coralleen, was just presented at the World Breast Cancer Congress in San Antonio, Texas, and published in The Lancet Oncology. The patients who could benefit from these advances (30% of breast cancer patients) are those who suffer from a hormone sensitive tumor with a high risk of metastasis.

Specifically, in the Coralleen Phase 2 clinical trial, researchers showed that treatment with ribociclib e letrozolo it is highly effective in patients with early hormone-sensitive breast cancer at high risk of developing metastases up to 10 years later.

"The main conclusion of the study is that these patients with hormone-sensitive tumors who today, to prevent them from metastasizing, must undergo chemo, can be treated with drugs inhibiting the CDK4 / 6 protein which, together with hormone treatment, could achieve similar and even greater efficiencies than chemotherapy, ”explains Dr. Aleix Prat, head of the medical oncology service of the Clínic de Barcelona hospital.

A systematic review

The study involved 106 patients from 21 hospitals in Spain for 1 years. Only patients with aggressive cancer and at high risk of metastasis participated in the survey. Of these, 50% underwent chemotherapy and the other 50% were biologically treated.

Drugs that inhibit CDK4 / 6 such as ribociclib in combination with hormone therapy (letrozole), have shown extraordinary efficacy in metastatic breast cancer. In this context, the use of chemotherapy has ceased to be the main option. In contrast, in patients with early stage breast cancer at high risk of relapse, the role of these biologics is not yet defined.

The study is the first in the world to use real-time genomic data to more accurately select patients with high-risk cancers and the first to integrate clinical, pathological and genomic data to measure response to treatment and demonstrate that in about half of the patients, treatment with ribociclib and letrozole given for 6 months transforms tumors at high risk of relapse into low-risk neoplasms.

“We are convinced that this biological therapeutic strategy can replace chemotherapy in this subgroup of patients at high risk of relapse. However, we need more evidence. To achieve this, we designed a second study with a much larger number of patients, ”the researchers conclude.

The idea that chemotherapy can be avoided is everything a woman can hope for in an already tortuous path against a sometimes devastating disease. We hope the research goes on.

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