This website uses cookies to make the site as useful as possible. By continuing to browse the website you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to read more.

Translate this site

Please choose a language:

New test may reduce chemotherapy use in breast cancer

29 May 2012

A new test called IHC4 that is being considered for use on the NHS could identify patients at such low risk of their breast cancer returning after surgery that they may be spared chemotherapy, according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer reports Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

The study of 101 patients – conducted by scientists in the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and clinicians at The Royal Marsden Hospital – suggested that almost half of patients currently classified as at intermediate risk of recurrence would be downgraded to low risk by the test. This would mean they would potentially safely avoid chemotherapy and its toxic side effects.

The IHC4 test uses simple technology that is available in most treatment centres around the UK and is relevant to the treatment for patients with oestrogen receptor  positive (ER positive) breast cancer. This is the most common type of the disease, accounting for around three out of four breast cancer cases, totalling around 36,000 patients in the UK each year. While many of these patients will benefit from chemotherapy, others have very low risk disease and this molecular test will help identify this group.

Professor Mitch Dowsett, from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a simple, cost-effective test. This new research suggests many additional patients could be classified as at low risk, and therefore avoid chemotherapy and its toxic side effects. This could make a big difference to those patients, and also save the NHS money. It is currently being assessed by NICE for widespread use through the NHS.”

Support Breakthrough Breast Cancer with an ongoing donation from pay.

Other Recent Headlines

Men with advanced prostate cancer could benefit from ‘targeted’ drug

26 November 2015

A small UK clinical trial has found that a drug developed to target inherited gene faults could benefit some men whose prostate cancer has spread, Cancer Research UK reports.

Red Cross responds to horrifying terror attacks in Paris and Beirut

25 November 2015

British Red Cross update on Terrorist attacks: On Friday 13th November, co-ordinated terrorist attacks across six locations in Paris left 129 people dead and hundreds more injured, with over 100 said to be in a serious condition.

Heat-activated ‘grenade’ to target cancer

24 November 2015

Cancer Research UK reports how researchers have developed cancer drug-packed ‘grenades’ armed with heat sensitive triggers, allowing for treatment to be targeted directly at tumours.

Working with us

Logos of some of the companies Charities we work with

About Workplace Giving UK

  • Newsletter Sign-Up

    Sign up for our monthly newsletter

    Submit your email address and we'll keep you up to date with all things Workplace Giving.