A new treatment for breast cancer has completely eradicated tumours in just 11 days.
Doctors today described the unexpected results as ‘staggering’ – and said the new two-pronged technique could spare thousands of women from gruelling chemotherapy.
The UK team, announcing their results at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Amsterdam, said they had never seen breast patients respond so quickly to a cancer treatment.
Women who were newly diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer were given the therapy at 23 UK hospitals.
Of the participants in the trial the vast majority – 87 per cent – responded to the treatment, with tests showing that the cancer had stopped producing more cells.
But for some women the results were more dramatic.
In 11 per cent the tumours had completely vanished, to the surprise of surgeons, and for another 17 per cent they had significantly shrunk.
MALE SUFFERERS ‘GET THE WRONG TREATMENT’
Men with breast cancer are at a disadvantage and may be dying because they are treated in the same way as women, experts have warned.
Nearly 400 men are diagnosed with the disease each year in the UK and doctors have until now assumed the cancers are the same. But analysis of 1,500 male breast cancer patients from nine countries found key differences between their tumours and those of women.
The project, led by the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, revealed that male breast cancers have different connective tissue, different cells, and are affected by the immune system in a different way. The discovery means that until now men may not have been treated in the best way.
Speaking at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Amsterdam yesterday, pathologist Dr Carolien van Deurzen said the results of the study could lead to ‘better treatment choices’ for male breast cancer patients in future.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: ‘This study… could change how decisions about the necessity of chemotherapy for certain male patients are made.’