Genetic Tests can Predict Cancer Survival after Chemo

There are few things more devastating in life than being given a diagnosis of cancer. While medical breakthroughs have bettered the chances of patients surviving certain forms of cancer, there are still plenty that give a person a less than 20 percent chance of survival. Another thing that is tough is the treatment options that some people have to go through.

Most doctors turn to chemotherapy as the last resort for combating this deadly disease, but many patients refer to that treatment as the cure being just as bad as the disease. The theory behind chemotherapy is that it fills the body with stuff that kills all living cells, with the thought being that it gets the cancer too. There are two problems with chemotherapy though. The first is that it wipes the patient out. The second is that, even with its powerful concoction of drugs, chemotherapy does not always fend off the cancer.

Imagine that for a minute. Going through an intensive regimen of chemotherapy, which can sometimes last a year or longer, only to find out that the cancer keeps marching on. It probably would give some patients pause, wondering if they might have been happier pursuing another course of treatment, instead of a plan that wipes out their body completely.

That is why news coming out of a ten year study on newly diagnosed patients with invasive breast cancer is getting a lot of attention. The researchers concluded that their findings show there is a genetic test that can predict which patients would benefit from chemotherapy. For those that have gone through chemotherapy, it would be a God send for them to know if the treatment is worth going through for them, or whether it could be something that has a low probability of helping them.

It sounds interesting, but how can a doctor predict such things? Well, the researchers used a combination of sensitivity to endocrine therapy, chemoresistance and chemosensitivity. For those doubting these findings, the research showed that of the people found to be receptive to chemotherapy, there was a 92 percent survival rate without relapse after a three year period.

For doctors, this could be a revolutionary find. Each year, drug manufacturers are coming out with no drugs to help combat this insidious disease. Those looking for clinical trials might be helped out by this genetic testing. If doctors run these tests and find that chemotherapy is not a good fit for a patient, they can refer them to a clinical trial, or try another course of therapy that is less invasive, but might be just as helpful.