A new study finds that many women with early-stage breast cancer can skip chemotherapy without hurting their odds of beating the disease. The study shows the value of using a gene-activity test to gauge each patient's risk.

A new study finds that many women with early-stage breast cancer can skip chemotherapy without hurting their odds of beating the disease. The study shows the value of using a gene-activity test to gauge each patient's risk.

The test accurately identified a group of women whose cancers are so likely to respond to hormone therapy that adding chemo would do little if any good. In the study, women who skipped chemo based on their gene test scores had less than a 1 percent chance of cancer recurring far away, such as the liver or lungs, within the next five years.

Results were published online Monday by the New England Journal of Medicine and discussed at a European cancer conference.