Professor Kefah Mokbel led a study in to a new approach for breast cancer treatment which may save 500 lives a year.
A review of 185,000 patients worldwide has found that removing the tumour and/or using radiotherapy simultaneously, rather than the typical approach of chemotherapy and anti-hormonal drugs, reduces the chances of death by 33%.
Patients who respond well to chemotherapy and have cancer that has spread only to the bones are likely to benefit most. Currently half of women diagnosed with stage four will live at least three years, and 27 per cent will be alive five years after diagnosis.
Doctors believe removing the primary breast tumour may improve survival by hindering the growth of breakaway cells and by eliminating a reservoir for stem cells resistant to chemotherapy. It may also boost the body’s immune system.
The study will be presented to the European Society for Medical Oncology Breast Cancer annual congress in Berlin in May.