Dual HER2 Blockade Alone Yields Worse pCR in Early HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“A new randomized trial found that neoadjuvant trastuzumab/pertuzumab alone yields a substantially worse rate of pathologic complete response compared with trastuzumab/pertuzumab plus paclitaxel in women with early, HER2-positive, hormone receptor (HR)-negative breast cancer.

” ‘Pathologic complete response (pCR) after neoadjuvant [therapy] has strong prognostic impact in HER2 disease,’ wrote study authors led by Ulrike Nitz, MD, of the West German Study Group GmbH in Moenchengladbach, Germany. The WSG-ADAPT HER2+/HR− trial assessed whether dual blockade with trastuzumab and pertuzumab could achieve similar rates of pCR in those with strong early response to dual blockade along with chemotherapy.”

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Cryotherapy for Preventing Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy in Patients With Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“A self-controlled clinical trial by Hanai et al investigating the efficacy of cryotherapy for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in patients with breast cancer treated with paclitaxel has found that cryotherapy resulted in a clinically and statistically significant reduction in patient-reported subjective symptoms, diminished objective signs (tactile and thermosensory), and prevention of manipulative dexterity. These study findings suggest cryotherapy may be an effective strategy in the prevention of neuropathy in patients undergoing paclitaxel treatment. These study findings were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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FDA Grants Priority Review to Frontline Abemaciclib for HR+/HER2- Advanced Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“The FDA has granted a priority review to a new drug application (NDA) for abemaciclib (Verzenio) for use in combination with an aromatase inhibitor for the frontline treatment of women with hormone receptor (HR)-positive, HER2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer, according to Eli Lilly and Company, the manufacturer of the CDK4/6 inhibitor.

“The NDA was based on data from the phase III MONARCH 3 trial in which the addition of abemaciclib to anastrozole or letrozole reduced the risk of progression or death by 46% compared with the nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor (NSAI) alone for previously untreated patients with HER2-negative, HR-positive advanced breast cancer.”

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Breast-Cancer Death Rate Drops Almost 40 Percent, Saving 322,000 Lives, Study Says

Excerpt:

“Breast cancer death rates declined almost 40 percent between 1989 and 2015, averting 322,600 deaths, the American Cancer Society reportedTuesday.

“Breast cancer death rates increased by 0.4 percent per year from 1975 to 1989, according to the study. After that, mortality rates decreased rapidly, for a 39 percent drop overall through 2015.  The report, the latest to document a long-term reduction in breast-cancer mortality, attributed the declines to both improvements in treatments and to early detection by mammography.”

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FDA Approves Verzenio for Hormone Receptor-Positive, HER-2-Negative Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“The FDA approved abemaciclib for the treatment of women with hormone receptor-positive HER-2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer who progressed following endocrine therapy.

The agency approved abemaciclib (Verzenio, Eli Lilly) — an investigational cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitor —in combination with fulvestrant (Faslodex, AstraZeneca) following progression on endocrine therapy, and as a monotherapy for patients with metastatic disease previously treated with endocrine therapy and chemotherapy.”

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In Breast Cancer, a Victory for Common Sense

Excerpt:

“New 10-year results from a major clinical trial in breast cancer confirm that it does not compromise overall survival to leave behind minimal amounts of cancer that have spread to the underarm lymph nodes in certain patients, according to the investigators.

“The long-term data are from the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group Z0011 trial and were published online September 12 in JAMA.

“The study participants were women with clinical T1 or T2 invasive breast cancer, no palpable axillary nodes, and 1 or 2 sentinel lymph nodes containing metastases. In addition to lymph node management, all patients were treated with lumpectomy, tangential whole-breast irradiation, and adjuvant systemic therapy.”

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New Trends in Pre-Surgery Treatments for Breast Cancer


Non-metastatic breast cancers are most often treated with surgery, but if the tumors are fairly large, or involve nearby lymph nodes, neoadjuvant (pre-operative) treatments with chemotherapy (NAC) are done first. NAC often reduces the tumor size and kills cancer cells in lymph nodes, if present, prior to surgery, improving the outcome. The best possible result of neoadjuvant treatment is pCR (pathologic compete response), when the tumor is no longer visible in imaging studies. Here, I review the new directions in which neoadjuvant treatments are evolving.

Today, treatments for metastatic breast cancers are tailored for specific subtypes. Starting with the introduction of the drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) for HER2-positive cancers, new, more specific treatment options were eventually developed and approved for other types as well. Estrogen deprivation endocrine therapies, lately prescribed in combination with CDK4/6 inhibitors, are used in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive cancers. Triple negative cancers (TNBC) are still treated mostly with chemotherapy, but immune checkpoint drugs and PARP inhibitors are explored in clinical trials, with some successes reported.

However, neoadjuvant treatments (except for HER2+ cancers) remain largely limited to chemotherapy regimens. This is starting to change now, with new approaches tailored to the cancer type being investigated in clinical trials.

In this regard, it is important to mention the I-SPY2 trial, NCT01042379, which started in 2010 and is for women with stage II-III breast cancer. It offers about a dozen drugs that are chosen based on particular features of the newly diagnosed cancers. This trial has a unique design and has produced some important results. Additional treatments and trials for various types of breast cancer are discussed below. Continue reading…


Surgeons Have Major Influence on Breast Cancer Treatment

Excerpt:

“A woman’s choice of surgeon plays a significant role in whether she’s likely to receive an increasingly popular aggressive breast cancer surgery.

“The procedure, called contralateral prophylactic mastectomy or CPM, involves removing both breasts even when  is found only in one. It is seen to be strongly driven by ‘ preferences.

“A new study, published in JAMA Surgery, finds that surgeons had the strongest influence on the likelihood of a woman having CPM.”

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Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection Non-Inferior to Axillary Node

Excerpt:

“Ten-year overall survival for primary breast cancer patients treated with sentinel lymph node dissection (SLND) alone is similar to that seen in those treated with axillary lymph node dissection (ALND), according to a study published in the Sept. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Armando E. Giuliano, M.D., from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues compared the 10-year overall survival of patients with  metastases treated with breast-conserving therapy and SLND alone without ALND (446 patients) versus women treated with ALND (445 patients). The women, with clinical T1 or T2 invasive , all had planned lumpectomy, tangential whole-breast irradiation, and adjuvant systemic therapy.”

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