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A recent multi-gene test that can predict whether early stage breast cancer patients will benefit from chemotherapy may have an effect on doctor's treatment recommendations in combating the disease.
The 21-gene test, called Oncotype, examines tumor samples and verifies how active they are. For patients with low test scores, chemotherapy can be avoided.
A study, led by Loyola University Health System Medical oncologist Shelly Lo, found that the test caused doctors to change their recommendations in nearly 32 percent of cases.
"This is the first study to show that results from this test simultaneously impact decisions by physicians as well as patients," said Lo. "We likely will see more tests similar to this one in the future."
Patients involved in the study reported that they were less conflicted about their decision whether or not to opt for chemotherapy and felt less anxiety about their situation. Doctors said that they would order the tests again in approximately 97 percent of cases.
"This test of patients' own breast cancer provides us with greater certainty of who derives benefit from chemotherapy and who can safely avoid it," said study author Kathy Albain.
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