British women with the oestrogen positive, HER2-negative form of breast cancer could be spared the trauma of chemotherapy due to a new genomic test.

The EndoPredict test examines the likelihood of a woman’s cancer returning within 10 years after surgery to remove a tumor. This is done by analysing a tissue sample from the tumor to determine the activity of genes in breast cancer cells.

The test will inform personalised treatment plans for patients by determining whether they would or would not benefit from chemotherapy after surgery, which will see some patients avoid its grueling side effects.
It is particularly advantageous for the NHS, as the EndoPredict test is a quicker and more accurate form of testing than the current method, Oncotype DX, as results from that test take 14 days to return because samples are sent to the US for analysis.

It is believed that the EndoPredict test can be analysed in the UK, within a few days.

In a study conducted by the Institute for Cancer research, 5.8 percent of patients were found to be at a low risk of the cancer spreading by the EndoPredict test, compared with 10.1 percent of patients tested through the Oncotype DX method.

Women are classed as low risk if they have less than a 10 percent decade-long risk of their cancer spreading.

According to the charity Breast Cancer Now, more than 33,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with the oestrogen positive, HER2-negative form of breast cancer every year.

Gwen Kirby-Dent, a senior clinical negligence solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is a frightening and traumatic experience for the individual and their support network and any further treatment or delays in that adds to the stress.

“While it is well recognised that chemotherapy is a necessary form of treatment for some cancer patients, it is positive to see that this new test could potentially reduce the number of women having to go through aggressive treatment if it could be avoided, particularly if the risk had become apparent as a result of a delay in diagnosis.”