Using ‘Vacuum’ technology could spare thousands of patients from major breast surgery
The larger tissue samples obtained with VAB offered greater confidence to reliably predict patients who had successfully responded to chemotherapy with no remaining disease.
Lead author Mr Marios Tasoulis, Locum Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon at The Royal Marsden, explained they found that a standardised breast assessment protocol using VAB was significantly accurate at identifying residual cancer. The larger tissue samples obtained with VAB offered greater confidence to reliably predict patients who had successfully responded to chemotherapy with no remaining disease.
He said: “What is particularly exciting is the potential for this technique to accurately pinpoint patients who have completely responded to chemotherapy with no remaining disease. Often when we get to theatre after a patient has finished chemotherapy, we remove tissue only to confirm there is no cancer left. If there is a way to avoid this it means many thousands of patients could be spared a general anaesthetic, surgery and additional worry. However, more research is required to assess the safety of omission of surgery in these exceptional responders. For those patients who do have residual disease, VAB appears to be a much more accurate method to establish if and where cancer might remain, offering patients a much more personalised and accurate treatment plan.
“We hope that in the future this could prevent thousands of patients whose cancer has completely eradicated by chemotherapy from undergoing unnecessary lumpectomies or mastectomies.”