Targeting chemotherapy with genetic testing provides effective treatment for women with aggressive breast cancer

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Women with an aggressive form of breast cancer who have faults in their BRCA genes do much better on chemotherapy drug carboplatin than standard treatment, a major clinical trial reports.

Researchers found that women with advanced ‘triple-negative’ breast cancer who had inherited a BRCA mutation were twice as likely to benefit from carboplatin as docetaxel, which is currently standard of care for these patients.

The study was largely funded by both Breast Cancer Now and Cancer Research UK and led by a team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and King’s College London.

The trial is set to change international clinical practice guidelines by ensuring that women with triple-negative breast cancer who are young or with a family history are considered for BRCA testing – so the best available treatment can be selected for them.

The study, published in the prestigious journal Nature Medicine today (Monday), was led by Professor Andrew Tutt in the Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and the charity’s Research Unit at King’s College London, and Professor Judith Bliss in the Cancer Research UK-funded Clinical Trials and Statistics Unit at the ICR. It also involved hospitals around the UK.

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