Great research informs treatment decisions for patients with cancer

Team meeting
Collaborative research has helped pave the way for better treatment decisions.

Westmead Breast Cancer Institute (BCI) has launched a research project which will support multidisciplinary teams in making decisions about the future treatment plans for patients.

The project will evaluate the effect of a ‘multi-gene test’ on treatment decisions made for an individual patient with breast cancer, especially looking at how the results of this test affect the decisions regarding chemotherapy and endocrine therapy for breast cancer.

Westmead BCI director A/Professor Nirmala Pathmanathan said that in the past, treatment decisions were based on the characteristics of the breast cancer, assessed under the microscope.

“Each cancer is different and these differences cannot be fully assessed by the microscope alone. Patients that may have the same cancer size, or cancer grade may still have different risks of the cancer recurring. Newer technologies have led to new “multi-gene” tests that have the potential to help doctors better identify patients who are at higher risk for recurrence and therefore may benefit from chemotherapy.

“The use of these tests can also better identify patients at lower risk of the cancer recurring, and therefore, these patients may be spared chemotherapy, and given endocrine therapy only.”

This research has been initiated by the multidisciplinary team of Westmead BCI and funded by donations received from our generous supporters so there is not financial burden placed on the patients participating in this research.

Patients are eligible for this research project, if after surgery, the cancer is shown to be of a specific type (ER positive and HER2 negative) and it meets other eligibility criteria. A sample of cancer tissue (no additional procedure is needed as we store the cancer tissue in the laboratory as part of your routine care) will be used for this new test.

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