Dr. Fei-Fei Liu Believes It
“With Personalized Cancer Medicine…it is equally important to know when NOT to give the treatment”

feifeismall.jpgFifteen years ago, Dr. Tony Fyles and his colleagues including Dr. Fei-Fei Liu, now Head of the Radiation Medicine Program at The Princess Margaret, conducted a randomized clinical trial to determine if 760 post-menopausal women with early stage lymph node negative breast cancer really required radiation therapy in addition to being treated with Tamoxifen. ‘Lymph node negative’ is a strong indicator that the cancer has not yet spread to other parts of the body and so is less aggressive. Tumour samples were collected from the women, and these samples are still available to researchers today for further analyses. The overall conclusion of this trial was that breast radiation therapy was still needed by women with lymph node negative breast cancer in order to prevent local recurrences.

Today, armed with new knowledge about the molecular drivers of cancer and the different sub-types of breast cancer, Dr. Liu and her team are now posing the same question, but analyzing the tumour samples collected 15 years ago to determine whether breast radiation therapy might have had differential benefit depending in the breast cancer sub-types.

Based on the results thus far, Dr. Liu believes that post-menopausal women with node negative luminal A sub-type of breast cancer—particularly those over the age of 60—may not require radiation therapy as part of their standard treatment.

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