Groundbreaking study finds half of breast cancer patients don’t need chemo

The shocking results of the long-awaited MINDACT clinical trial are in. Many breast cancer patients have been receiving chemotherapy treatments they didn’t need, and that made no difference in their survival.

This is thanks to a genetic test called MammaPrint, which determined that nearly half the women slated for chemotherapy based on standard clinical recommendations didn’t need it.

After surgery to remove their tumors, early-stage breast cancer patients (0-3 positive nodes) with a MammaPrint score recommending against chemotherapy had a 95% survival rate, said co-researcher Laura van ‘t Veer, the test’s inventor.

“That’s very high, and we showed that it doesn’t differ between those who are treated and those who are not treated by chemotherapy,” said van ‘t Veer, leader of the breast oncology program at the University of California, San Francisco Diller Family Cancer Center.

The MINDACT phase 3 clinical trial involved nearly 6,700 women at 111 medical centers in nine countries. It “represents what we in medicine call the highest level of evidence (level 1A),” AACR President Dr. Jose Baselga said.

“This study is telling us in a very clear way we can spare many women chemotherapy,” said Baselga, chief medical officer of Memorial Hospital at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in New York City.

The MammaPrint test looks at a panel of 70 genes within the tumor itself to assess its aggressiveness and the odds it will come back without chemotherapy, van ‘t Veer said.

“Our test looks under the hood, at the engine of the tumor,” she said. “The biology tells more about the tumor than simply examining its size because you’re really looking into the tumor.”

In the clinical trial, researchers sorted breast cancer patients into four groups, based on whether MammaPrint testing or traditional clinical assessment recommended chemotherapy (from a tool that oncologists use called Adjuvant! Online).

MammaPrint reduced chemotherapy prescriptions by 46% among the more than 3,300 patients in the trial categorized as having a high risk of breast cancer recurrence based on common clinical and pathological criteria, the researchers said.

Further, just over 2,700 patients who had a low MammaPrint risk score but a high clinical risk score wound up with a 94.7 percent five-year survival rate, whether they got chemo or not, the researchers said.

“If we can select those patients that don’t need chemotherapy, unneeded treatment can be avoided and we will be one step closer to making sure treatment for breast cancer is tailored to the individual,” said Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

MammaPrint testing will be particularly valuable for young women with breast cancer, said Dr. Victor Vogel, director of Breast Medical Oncology/Research for the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania.

Young women have been more likely to receive chemotherapy in standard breast cancer care, even though it can destroy their fertility and leave them open to long-term health problems, Vogel said.

“In my training, if you had a young woman with breast cancer, she got chemotherapy,” Vogel said. “But now we can be selective, and we know there’s a very large number of young women with small hormone-responsive tumors who do not need chemotherapy.”

MammaPrint is covered by Medicare and is reimbursed by most large health insurers in the United States.

This test will spare tens of thousands of women from necessary treatment every year and save millions of healthcare dollars. (Sorry Big Pharma)

According to Dr. Baselga, “You are saving all the money for chemotherapy that would be used for no reason, and you are protecting women from chemotherapy that is toxic and they don’t need,” he said.

This is a huge step in the right direction for conventional cancer treatment.

However, even if this test says you will benefit from chemotherapy, you should know that the word “benefit” rarely means cure. It typically just means temporary tumor shrinkage. After which, the cancer may continue to grow and spread more aggressively. To further educate yourself in order to make an informed decision, I suggest you read these posts about chemo and download my free guide 20 Questions For Your Oncologist.

Article Sources
Cancer Therapy Advisor

Related Links
MINDACT Press Release
Dr. Christi Funk’s interview on CBS Los Angeles

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This Post Has 41 Comments

  1. Aingy Lee

    This is GREAT news!! I was diagnosed stage 1 in December 2015. Only had surgery even though oncologist recommended chemotherapy due to my Young age (32). Instead I’ve done a complete overhaul of my diet and using various supplements. I am interested to hear what my oncologist will have to say about this study when I have my follow up appointment in June! Thanks for the information, Chris :)

    1. Ann Equality Fonfa

      There is an immediate assumption that younger women need more conventional treatments. That is, of course, not true for all. You can check our website Annie Appleseed Project (or our FB page for lots of good ideas for additional protocols.

      1. Aingy Lee

        Thank you, Ann, I have been onto your website but not perused it in great detail yet. I will go and look at your recommendations for additional protocols! I am already doing an array of things including my 50% raw vegan lifestyle (laetrile, turmeric, green tea, vitamin C, live probiotics, wheatgrass, spirulina…the list goes on!) But I am ALWAYS interested to hear and learn more :)

        1. Ann Equality Fonfa

          Sounds good, Aingy. How about a small trampoline? Small hand weights to.keep your bones and lymph system at their best?

          1. Aingy Lee

            That is next on my list! But just spent a small fortune at the biological dentist this month getting my amalgam fillings removed. I do exercise but not nearly as much as I’d like to. Thank you for the reminder, though – I will get on it soonest!!
            By the way, I listened to your testimony on TTAC episode 9 this morning. You are such an inspiration, thank you!

  2. StormChaser7

    On one level, this is good, for many women. On the other hand, this actually encourages chemo for some. Let me explain. My m-i-l was diagnosed with bc last year. She had stage 1 with negative nodes. The thing is it was also considered grade 3, aggressive. So, her score came back that she ‘needed’ chemo. I disagreed since I also had the exact same type and grade of bc back in 2002. At that time, negative nodes meant NO chemo. And that’s what I did. Nothing. Now, she felt pressured into chemo and went along with the doctors. If that test had been around back in ’02, I might have had to stress over the chemo question too. Glad I didn’t.

    1. Valorie E Thomas

      My bc was stage 2A no nodes tripple neg. They are pressuring me into chemo. I am not feeling it.
      I am going with plant diet detoxing jucing.

      1. StormChaser7

        What you are doing certainly is good for the body, whereas chemo is not good for most of our internal organs and even more importantly, our immune system. How can we heal without a fully functioning immune system? My sister with stage 4 colon cancer is doing chemo right now and I know that if she ever quits, her tumors will grow exponentially. They barely shrink with each round of treatment. The doctors offer no cure for her and the hell she has gone through would give anyone nightmares.

        Sending prayers and well wishes your way!

        1. Valorie E Thomas

          I am so sorry for this. If she tries the diet it will kick out chemo. Why is it not shrinking???? I thought it should work. Lord have mercy.
          I will be praying for your sister in the name of Jesus.
          Lord knows we all need him. I pray our Lord touch her colon, and her whole body and cure her, cast out the tumor and give comfort to your family.

          1. StormChaser7

            Thank you for the kind reply. My sister has been battling this cancer for almost 5 years now. She has had so much chemo, I have lost count of the treatments. The weight loss (she weighs 89 pounds), dental issues, and permanent ileostomy bag are constant reminders of the ravishes on her body. The tumors are shrinking, but never go away. This last time they have gone from 30mm to 25mm. Not a lot to get excited about. I thank you for your prayers; she is a believer and greatly appreciates it.

          2. Valorie E Thomas

            My pleasure

        2. Ann Equality Fonfa

          My all-volunteer nonprofit has a Handout to help reduce conventional treatment toxicities. Found from top drop-down menu under Information by Cancer Type. Scroll to first paragraph – and download PDF (double-sided please). She can do some complementary therapies that studies show are safe AND effective.

      2. Ann Equality Fonfa

        There are a vast array of holistic approaches. Remember that turmeric/curcumin can block 9 cancer pathways. Add to juice or use separately. Be physically active and reduce stress by finding daily joy.

        1. Valorie E Thomas

          How much of turmeric should be use? What type of juice since we need to remove sugar?

          1. Ann Equality Fonfa

            I meant fresh squeezed (organic only) juice. At home we add turmeric and black pepper to our green drink daily. We use cinnamon daily as well, to valance blood sugar.
            I know people think that carrot juice has too much sugar but at a Gerson Therapy clinic I discovered that carrot juice with potassium salts, helped my candida start to heal. All the best

          2. Valorie E Thomas

            Thank you so much.
            I am using cinnimon as well I am a diabetic too.
            Going to whole food store today.

    2. Ann Equality Fonfa

      I agree. I think everyone should be tested – no matter how many nodes. It is clear that chemo is NOT the sole answer. Glad you found solutions. When you say you did ‘nothing’, is that true? What other (i.e. holistic protocols) did you follow?

      1. StormChaser7

        I was diagnosed with DCIS (with less than 3 mm of invasive), grade 3, negative nodes in 2002. I had a lumpectomy and was told the doctor ‘didn’t get it all’ so I opted for a bilateral mastectomy. I did it because my new surgeon said that is what she would do and because my step mother had had cancer in one side and then after chemo AND tamoxifen for 5 years, it came back in the other side ending up in a bilateral mastectomy anyway. I also knew I could avoid radiation and the drug afterwards. So, I did NOT do chemo or radiation, but did have surgery. I also had reconstruction with implants, and just had those redone this past year. I do not regret any of what I did other than that lumpectomy which gave me an awful scar. As far as changing my diet, I try to watch what I eat. I do not do sugar to excess. No pop, soda, or whatever you want to call it. I exercise now, but right after I didn’t. I need to do better though since it could rear its ugly head again in some other form. I think the biggest thing we all can do is get rid of sugar, eat mostly organic, sleep enough, exercise regularly, and try not to get stressed (not sure which one is the hardest for me to do!). Those 5 things could probably cure a lot of cancer today.

        1. Ann Equality Fonfa

          Despite your stepmother’s experience, Stormchaser, it is quite rare to have cancer in the other breast. I was diagnosed with invasive lobular and told from the beginning that it was likely to go to that other breast. When it showed some signs, I had a mastectomy (the cancer side had 3 lumpectomies and then a mastectomy) BTW, sorry you got bad scarring, have your tried aloe, cold laser, vit E, silicone bandage (and more)? I think DETOX is very important as well as the things you mention. I had many recurrent tumors on the left side (the right turned out NOT to have cancer), and all but the first one grew slower than normal cells which I credited to the various changes I made in my life. All good wishes.

    3. Kello Peters

      So what did you do back then in 2002

  3. Matronum

    OK, but this also implies that half of women DO need the chemo, when in fact a huge study from Australia showed that chemo FAILS in over 97% of cancers, especially breast cancer. So it may be more accurate to say “Studies how that the vast majority of women should not get chemo, regardless of genetics.”

    1. Ann Equality Fonfa

      For sure more work is needed. Everyone ought to take control of their own health IMMEDIATELY by changing what they eat (mostly organic fresh fruits/veggies whenever possible), avoid added sugars and fake sugars, all junk food including Soda, be physically active daily (not necessarily athletic), and learn to handle stress by finding daily joy. Detox and use some dietary supplements. It can be done. Many of us have. Chemo should never be taken without complementary therapies to reduce the harms. My all-volunteer nonprofit Annie Appleseed Project has a Handout with the evidence-based information that may help.

      1. StormChaser7

        Wow, I hadn’t read this until after my last post. We are ‘on the same page’ as they say. :-)

      2. Valorie E Thomas

        Great I will check you out on FB

    2. pollewop

      hallo where can I find this australian study

  4. Valorie E Thomas

    I heard about the Immunotheropy studies. I wish this could be done with me. I think MD Anderson is conducting the study.
    This is great news

  5. Dinky thomas

    I had the onco type dx test. Thank goodness no chemo for me.

  6. Carol Simpson

    I go to Cancer Treatment Centers of America. They do a MammaPrint with every breast cancer patient as soon as they have the biopsy tissue to send off. It’s expensive, but worth the money!

    1. Valorie E Thomas

      I have a comsultation with them May 12th. They ask for my insurance information. Is that test not covered by insurance? The MammaPrint?
      What type of resilts do you get from this test?

    2. Pastor Fredrik

      After I came out with the news last June that a cancer doctor told me I had prostrate cancer and suggested a high frequency treatment that is not approved in America and could only be done in Mexico at the cost of $25,000, I immediately looked at alternatives. I contacted my nephew in Vancouver, who was about to become a doctor, and he suggested I meet with a Dr. Rick in Victoria, BC. That doctor changed my diet and put me on supplements, and within a year I brought my PSA numbers down drastically and eliminated the cancer threat. I also treated the condition with hemp oil (hash oil). With the diet, the supplements and the hash oil, plus a session with a world-renowned healer, Adam Dream-healer, I’m cancer-free. That’s right, I kicked cancer’s ass! So the magic plant does cure cancer with the right diet and supplements. I’m due for another blood test, MRI, etc., but I feel the best I’ve felt in years. And now for a celebration joint of the finest Kush
      for all cancer patient that live in Europe, America and Canada region, get your Hemp oil from: (

  7. Ann Equality Fonfa

    There is also a test called OncoType DX that has been on the market as well. It is WONDERFUL to be able to tell who might actually ‘benefit’ from chemo (although anyone taking chemo should use complementary therapies – also called Integrative Oncology) to protect their health from the harms. When I was diagnosed in Jan 1993 I remember being SHOCKED to hear that doctors simply gave chemo without knowing who might benefit – it is SO toxic to all cells in the human body! I REFUSED chemo and am now a 23 year survivor. BUT I did a lot of so-called ‘alternative (holistic) therapies to heal myself. It takes effort and I am still staying healthy consciously. I founded all-volunteer nonprofit Annie Appleseed Project (also on Facebook) to share this information. Chris Wark has spoken at one of our educational conferences. We share many of the same ideas.

  8. Suzanne

    It doesn’t mention that chemo is an actual carcinogenic. Therefore doesn’t being treated with it actually cause more cancer?

  9. Victoria Jefferson

    I’m Victoria my niece suffered from stage 3 breast cancer for 20years she have traveled far and wide for different treatment and therapy she was living in agony for 20 long years, i know you guys would understand what I’m talking about. All the treatment and therapy didn’t help at all , she was introduced to this God sent doctor by a church member. He is into herbal treatment for the permanent cure of different types of cancer. she got in contact with him after asking questions and examining her, he sent his medication, within 3weeks of taking the herbal drugs she was cured of cancer it was like a miracle I just want to thank dr Philip Peterson he’s God sent, he also have cure for all kinds of cancer and cure for schizophrenia. Don’t suffer anymore because of ignorance go and meet the right source of help and be cured you can reach him by send him a mail at he would surely help you

  10. Jessica

    My mother was recently diagnosed with stage IV metastatic triple negative breast cancer. I’m holding onto faith with regards to her healing; however this is all new for us and not sure how to proceed. Before learning of Chris and others who have beat cancer through natural means, my mother had undergone WBRT. Before they were going to do WBRT I had a strange feeling in my spirit, but we proceeded as doctors told us if we do not do treatment my mother may have issues with seizures or paralysis as the cancer had reached her brain. I was so nervous and everything was happening so fast. So far my mother has only had WBRT and radiation to her sacrum. Her oncologist too gave her Zometa through her port as the cancer too has reached my mother’s bones. I really don’t feel comfortable with medical doctors; however, can my mother go the alternative route being that her cancer is aggressive and at such an advanced stage? Right now I have her taking supplements, and I have changed her diet (raw veggies, juicing, and cut out as much sugar as we can). She too is seeing a naturopathic doctor who gave her a protocol and will be starting weekly vitamin C IV therapy in August. I would greatly appreciate any advice as my mother and I are doing this by ourselves with the exception of God on our side. One last thing, does anyone know of a compassionate doctor (oncologist) who will work alongside with us if we proceed the natural alternative route. I have found that most doctors in cancer realm are not very understanding or supportive of alternative treatments. We are in Mesa, Arizona.

  11. Pastor Fredrik

    Cannabis root has been used medicinally for centuries from different parts of the world and to treat a wide range of maladies. The earliest report is from medieval times when the root was said to relieve the agonies of gout and other painful diseases. (Nature’s Pharmacy 2007) You need Cannabis Oil? email:(

  12. Marina Montague

    I was diagnosed with a stage II breast cancer last year (3positive nodes). Got scared at first and agreed to a mastectomy of the left breast. 3 days after the surgery oncologist suggested I enter the clinical trial described above. I was explained – trial was blind, anonymously half of people supposed to take anastrozole only and another half of patients supposed to undergo chemotherapy and hormonal treatment. My oncotype test revealed that I have 6% chance of getting tumor back if I do nothing, and 11% getting it back if chemo would be taken. Guess what my oncologist suggested? Despite of the fact, I have a slow growing cancer I still should go for the chemo and radiation BECAUSE it is a STANDARD treatment. I asked doctor: would it be the same treatment given to 20 years old and to me 60 years old woman? You already know what the answer was…
    Feel better than ever without chemo…

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