New guidance finds best treatment for breast cancer during pandemic
A new approach to better select breast cancer patients in need of urgent surgery or chemotherapy during the COVID-19 pandemic has been developed by researchers in the U.K., Germany and U.S.
The innovative algorithm, using data from multiple international trials, can identify postmenopausal patients with primary ER+HER2- breast cancer who have either less endocrine-sensitive tumors and who should be prioritized for early surgery or neoadjuvant chemotherapy, or an endocrine-sensitive tumor that can be treated for up to 6 months with an endocrine drug with a safe surgical delay.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an international need to prioritize the number of cancer surgeries and chemotherapy treatments to the most urgent patients to protect staff and vulnerable patients. While patients diagnosed with triple negative breast and HER2-positive cancer have still been going forward for urgent surgery or chemotherapy, it is safe for a large group of patients to defer these treatments and treat with neoadjuvant endocrine therapy (NeoET) instead. Researchers have identified this method to reduce the stimulation of the disease by estrogen without the surgical removal of the breast tumour as the best course of treatment.