Thousands of breast cancer patients could be spared the misery and expense of chemotherapy, or at least get a milder regimen than what's usually prescribed, according to a new study. A new genetic test that predicts women's risk of recurrence shows that up to 40% of patients with early stage breast cancer could safely skip chemotherapy.
The findings should affect doctors' recommendations for chemotherapy, according to researchers who presented the study at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. But some say physicians are extremely reluctant to risk giving up any treatment that might help some. A separate study suggests that the drug Taxotere is at least as effective as the commonly prescribed Adriamycin, but has fewer serious side effects.