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…


I-SPY 2: Veliparib–Carboplatin Improves Complete Response Rate in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“The addition of veliparib–carboplatin to standard chemotherapy appeared likely to improve rate of pathologic complete response among women with triple-negative breast cancer, according to results of I-SPY 2 published inThe New England Journal of Medicine.

“Researchers calculated an 88% predictive probability that the veliparib (ABT-888, AbbVie) and carboplatin combination would remain effective when added to standard chemotherapy in phase 3 confirmatory trials.”

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Innovative Trials Produce Promising Breast Cancer Drugs

Excerpt:

“An innovative set of clinical trials have identified two drugs that could provide a fighting chance for women with advanced breast cancer.

“The drugs, neratinib and veliparib, both appear effective in helping women diagnosed with stage 2 or 3 , researchers report.

“These are the first two drugs to come out of the I-SPY clinical , a research effort intended to streamline  testing by better guiding treatments to those who would most benefit from them, said one of the study authors, Dr. Laura Esserman. She is director of breast cancer care at the University of California, San Francisco’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.”

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Neoadjuvant HER2+ Breast Cancer Options Need Refinement, Expert Says

Excerpt:

“While recent findings from the I-SPY 2 trial have shown potential with the combination of ado-trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1; Kadcyla) and pertuzumab (Perjeta) for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, the neoadjuvant space still has a lot of work ahead, according to Lisa A. Carey, MD.

“Results presented at the 2016 AACR Annual Meeting1 showed that, out of the 249 patients enrolled on the I-SPY 2 study, 54% of those who received T-DM1/pertuzumab experienced a pathological complete response (pCR) rate compared with 22% of those who received the combination of paclitaxel (Abraxane) plus trastuzumab (Herceptin).

“This suggests that T-DM1 could increase overall survival (OS) in this patient population, but Carey adds more research with the regimen needs to be conducted.”

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