Dr. Erika Hamilton Explains Breast Cancer Breakthrough on Michaela, Headline News, CNN

Dr. Erika Hamilton Explains Breast Cancer Breakthrough on Michaela, Headline News, CNN


(whooshing) – Tens of thousands of women diagnosed with early breast cancer may not need to undergo chemotherapy. A study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine found by using genetic testing on tumors doctors could determine whether or not a patient required chemotherapy. That could mean as many as 70% of women who had early stages of one of the most common
forms of breast cancer, may not need chemo after all
as part of their treatment. No chemotherapy means patients won’t have to
experience some side effects like nausea, hair loss
or weakened immune system or perhaps even worse,
bone loss and osteoporosis. We have a doctor here
to speak to us about it, Doctor Erika Hamilton, she’s the director of the Breast Cancer and Gynocologic Cancer Research Program at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute. So I’m glad you could join
us from Chicago, doctor. I could imagine this headline reaches us and we think this is big, especially if we have people in our family that have either undergone
surgery or chemotherapy, but I’m sure it’s even
bigger news in your world. Tell us the impact of this. – Yeah, you’re exactly right McKayla, it’s huge news, it’s
really groundbreaking. So this was a trial called TAILORx and it randomized 10,000 women volunteers who had hormonally driven
early stage breast cancers. We used a test called the Oncotype DX, which is a test that we’ve been using for several years actually that classifies women into low risk, where they don’t need chemotherapy or high risk, where they know they do, and what this study looked at is those that fell in the
intermediate or the middle bucket, which is about 70% of patients. And it randomized them
either to get chemotherapy or to get endocrine therapy,
the hormone pill, alone. And it showed that for the
vast majority of these women, they didn’t need the chemotherapy. – That’s astounding, when you think that that
middle bucket was 70% of women. So let’s talk about it, that does mean there are
still a portion of women or people that have been diagnosed that are going to require chemotherapy. – That’s correct. We know that the women that are
in the high risk category do. And so most of the women
in the intermediate we know now don’t. There was a caveat, those women
that are particularly young, less than 50-years old, unless they were in the very low portion of that intermediate bucket, they still did need chemotherapy. So for the very young women, this still may not completely
spare them from chemotherapy, but again, this means for
early stage breast cancer almost 70% of women probably don’t need chemotherapy anymore. So this is probably about
60,000 women in the U.S. a year that now will be spared chemotherapy. – Yeah, if you know anybody, you
know that it takes a lot out of you. That kind of treatment really does mentally, physically, emotionally. But let’s ask one quick, last
final question Dr. Hamilton, there are women right now that are in the midst of their
treatment with oncologists, they’re either on their
way to an appointment, they’re sitting in the waiting
room, waiting to go in, they’re midstream, what
happens in those cases? – Yeah, I think that’s a conversation for that individual woman and her doctor. This is an initiative that’s
across oncology right now, personalized medicine. We’re really trying to
tailor the individual results with individual treatment for patients and not using the cookie cutter,
one size fits all approach. So it’s a win for the
health care community and it’s certainly a win for patients and I think very generous for these women that volunteered for this trial to help all women moving forward. – We’re glad to hear that because it certainly
feels intensely personal when you’re goin’ through it and it’s nice to know you’re gonna have that
care tailored to you. Dr. Erika Hamilton, thank
you so much for joining me and sharing your expertise. – Thank you so much for having me. – Absolutely.

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