Fewer breast cancer patients need radical surgery if they are pre-treated with targeted drugs

Barcelona, Spain: Extensive surgery involving mastectomy and removal of several lymph nodes can be safely avoided for more women with some types of breast cancer, if they receive targeted drugs before surgery, according to research presented at the 11th European Breast Cancer Conference.

The study focused on women with HER2 positive breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease, who were given a targeted drug treatment to shrink their tumours before they had surgery.

Previous research has shown that women who have less extensive surgery suffer fewer long-term side-effects and enjoy better quality of life. The researchers say their work shows that even women with aggressive tumours can be safely treated with breast-conserving surgery, if the cancer responds to targeted treatment.

The research was led by Professor Isabel Rubio, Co-chair of the 11th European Breast Cancer Conference and former head of the breast surgical oncology unit at the breast cancer centre at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain, where she carried out the work.

She said: “In this study we have looked at women with HER2 positive breast cancer. This is an aggressive form of the disease but it is also one where a new class of drugs


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