Chemo Benefit Unclear in Breast Cancer Patients With Higher Recurrence Scores


“In patients with hormone receptor–positive, HER2-negative, lymph node–negative breast cancer with a recurrence score (RS) based on a 21-gene expression assay of 11 to 25, outcomes were similar whether chemotherapy was used or not used, according to a retrospective analysis. However, the study’s limited follow-up means a benefit from chemotherapy in these patients cannot be ruled out.

“The Oncotype DX 21-gene expression assay is the most commonly used test of this kind in breast cancer in the United States. It offers an RS, and previous research has shown that patients with an RS below 11 fare very well when treated with endocrine therapy alone. ‘To our knowledge, it is unknown whether chemotherapy provides any additional benefit in outcomes in patients with hormone receptor–positive, HER2-negative, lymph node–negative, early-stage breast cancer with an RS of 11 to 25 who are treated with endocrine therapy,’ wrote study authors led by Carlos H. Barcenas, MD, MSc, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.”

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Impact of Recurrence Score Assay Varies With Patient Age

“For women with early-stage breast cancer, the impact of receipt of the 21-gene recurrence score (RS) assay varies with patient age, according to a study published online Nov. 23 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“Andrew J. Epstein, Ph.D., from the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and colleagues used data from the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry to examine the correlations between RS assay receipt, subsequent chemotherapy use, and medical expenditures. Data were included for 7,287 women with early-stage breast cancer who underwent initial surgical treatment.”