Dr. O'Regan on Future of Chemotherapy in Breast Cancer

Ruth O'Regan, MD
Published: Tuesday, Dec 11, 2018



Ruth O’Regan, MD, division head, Hematology and Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, discusses the role of chemotherapy as treatment continues to advance in breast cancer.

Chemotherapy is likely to stay in the treatment armamentarium in breast cancer, at least in the foreseeable future, O’Regan says. This is particularly the case in HER2-positive disease and in triple negative breast cancer, where chemotherapy plays a crucial role in the treatment sequence. However, the field of estrogen receptor (ER)–positive breast cancer seems to be moving away from chemotherapy.

Even if a patient with ER-positive disease has positive lymph nodes, they still might not benefit from chemotherapy if they have a low recurrence score. Interestingly, O’Regan adds, even patients with ER-positive disease who are at a high risk of recurrence typically do not benefit much from chemotherapy, although they are treated with it because there are no other options. Chemotherapy with CDK4/6 inhibitors might be an answer, O’Regan concludes.
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Ruth O’Regan, MD, division head, Hematology and Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, discusses the role of chemotherapy as treatment continues to advance in breast cancer.

Chemotherapy is likely to stay in the treatment armamentarium in breast cancer, at least in the foreseeable future, O’Regan says. This is particularly the case in HER2-positive disease and in triple negative breast cancer, where chemotherapy plays a crucial role in the treatment sequence. However, the field of estrogen receptor (ER)–positive breast cancer seems to be moving away from chemotherapy.

Even if a patient with ER-positive disease has positive lymph nodes, they still might not benefit from chemotherapy if they have a low recurrence score. Interestingly, O’Regan adds, even patients with ER-positive disease who are at a high risk of recurrence typically do not benefit much from chemotherapy, although they are treated with it because there are no other options. Chemotherapy with CDK4/6 inhibitors might be an answer, O’Regan concludes.



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