Advanced Breast Cancer Slowed with Avastin Combo (CME/CE)

Excerpt:

“Adding bevacizumab (Avastin) to letrozole (Femara) improved progression-free survival (PFS) in estrogen receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer (ER+MBC) but not other outcomes, an open-label, multicenter phase III trial showed.

“While median PFS increased by 4.6 months in patients who received combined therapy versus letrozole alone, there was no significant difference in overall survival (hazard ratio 0.87; 95% CI 0.65-1.18; P=0.188), Maura N. Dickler, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues reported online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“In addition, there was a marked increase in grade 3 to 4 toxicities, particularly hypertension (24% versus 2%) and proteinuria (11% versus 0%), the researchers said, emphasizing that the role of bevacizumab in this setting will need to be clarified with research on predictive markers.”

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Oncotype Dx Gene Test Has a Big Impact on Oncologists' Chemo Recommendations

Excerpt:

“The 21-gene Recurrence Score (RS) assay significantly influenced clinicians’ decisions to recommend breast cancer patients for adjuvant chemotherapy, analysis of a population-based dataset showed.

“Used to predict disease recurrence and benefit of chemotherapy in estrogen receptor-positive, lymph node-negative early-stage breast cancer (EBC), the assay had the strongest association with recommendation for chemotherapy, with an adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of 83 for high assay scores and 12 for intermediate scores, both relative to low scores.

“Test use was significantly associated with younger age, white race, academic centers, private insurance, and pT2/pN0(i+) grade 2 to 3 disease, Peter Kabos, MD, of the University of Denver, Aurora, CO, and colleagues reported online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.”

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Study Refines the Risk for Breast Cancer Recurrence

“The risk for local recurrence of breast cancer decreases as event-free survival lengthens, according to an analysis of a large database from the Netherlands.

“The study, which also demonstrated that recurrence risk varies substantially by subtype, should help physicians counsel women with breast cancer.

” ‘The risk of local recurrence as a first event within 5 years after diagnosis was low overall, at 3%. It differed by subtype, with ER-positive, PR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer with the lowest risk and triple-negative with the highest risk,’ said Martine Moossdorff, MD, who is currently a doctoral candidate at Maastricht University Medical Center, in the Netherlands.”


FDA Approves New Indication for FASLODEX® (Fulvestrant)

“AstraZeneca today announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new indication expanding the use of FASLODEX® (fulvestrant) to include use in combination with palbociclib. The combination use is for the treatment of women with hormone receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (HER2-) advanced or metastatic breast cancer (MBC) whose cancer has progressed after endocrine therapy. FASLODEX has been approved since 2002 as a monotherapy for the treatment of postmenopausal women with HR+ MBC whose cancer has progressed following antiestrogen therapy.

“Estrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancer is the most common subtype of breast cancer and one of the key drivers of disease progression for this subtype is through the ER. Laboratory studies show that FASLODEX directly targets the ER by blocking and degrading the ER, helping to inhibit tumor growth.”


ASCO Recommends Ovarian Suppression for ER-Positive Breast Cancer

“An American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) expert panel issued an updated guideline recommending that higher-risk premenopausal women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer receive ovarian suppression in addition to adjuvant endocrine therapy. Lower-risk patients, however, should not receive ovarian suppression.

“ ‘In the past year, randomized trials with robust methodological designs have analyzed the effect of ovarian suppression among premenopausal women with ER-positive breast cancers treated with tamoxifen,’ wrote the panel, led by ASCO expert Harold J. Burstein, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. In the past, studies of this therapy have suffered from problems such as selection criteria confounding.

“The guideline update is based on four randomized controlled trials. These include the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group 3193 (E-3193) trial, the Suppression of Ovarian Function Trial (SOFT), the Tamoxifen and Exemestane Trial (TEXT), and the Austrian Breast Cancer Study Group (ABCSG)-12 trial. Overall, the studies did not find a significant difference with regard to overall survival between tamoxifen alone, tamoxifen plus ovarian suppression, or aromatase inhibitors (AIs) plus ovarian suppression. The guideline update was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.”


New Image Analytics May Offer Quick Guidance for Breast Cancer Treatment

“For women with the most common type of breast cancer, a new way to analyze magnetic resonance images (MRI) data appears to reliably distinguish between patients who would need only hormonal treatment and those who also need chemotherapy, researchers from Case Western Reserve University report.

“The analysis may provide women diagnosed with estrogen positive-receptor (ER-positive)  answers far faster than current tests and, due to its expected low cost, open the door to this kind of testing worldwide.

“The research is published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.”


Putting Immune Checkpoint Blockade to the Test in Breast Cancer


About 10 months ago, we asked: Is There a Future for Immunotherapy in Breast Cancer? Now, we can answer this question with a qualified “yes.” The data show why:

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC)

TNBC has long been considered to be more amenable to immune system-based treatments than other types of breast cancer because it is more immunogenic; that is, relatively high levels of immune cells accumulate within or adjacent to TNBC tumors. These immune cells could be triggered to attack tumors if properly activated. TNBC tumors are also likely to have a higher mutational burden (number of genetic mutations). This is one of the predictors of sensitivity to a type of treatment called immune checkpoint blockade.  Drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors block the proteins PD-1 or PD-L1. In cancer, PD-L1 proteins on tumor cells bind to PD-1 proteins on immune T cells and inhibit their tumor-killing activity. Immune checkpoint drugs disable this interaction and enable activation of T cells. These drugs are actively being explored in TNBC in clinical trials.

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Resistance Mutations: Next in ER+ Metastatic Breast Cancer?

“Estrogen receptor (ER) mutations can be easily detected in the plasma of patients with metastatic breast cancer and may hold the key to targeted treatments for women with endocrine-resistant disease, according to new analysis of patients in the BOLERO-2 trial.

” ‘Patients who had mutations had a shorter median survival than those who did not…and patients with different mutations might have different responses to therapies,’ Sarat Chandarlapaty, MD, PhD, a breast medical oncologist from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York reported at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

“BOLERO-2 enrolled postmenopausal women with metastatic, endocrine-resistant, ER-positive breast cancer and changed the standard of care in this setting, as reported by Medscape Medical News.”


One-Two Punch of Palbociclib, Paclitaxel Shows Promise against Advanced Breast Cancer

“Combining the new breast cancer drug palbociclib with paclitaxel (Taxol) shrank tumors in nearly half of patient with estrogen-receptor (ER) positive breast cancer, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The results will be presented Saturday at the 2015 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. A second study provides new clues to how breast cancer develops resistance to the palbociclib, a common occurrence among many patients who take the drug.

” ‘Results of the first study found that palbociclib and paclitaxel can be safely combined on an alternating dosing schedule,’ said Angela DeMichele, MD, MSCE, the Alan and Jill Miller Associate Professor in Breast Cancer Excellence in Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, and senior author on the study. ‘The high response rate we saw suggests this combination may hold benefits for patients over paclitaxel alone. Based on these results, a larger clinical trial to determine the benefits is warranted.’ “