Single Dose of Trastuzumab Kick Starts Immune Response in Certain Breast Cancers

“A tumor’s immune response to a single dose of the HER2 inhibitor trastuzumab predicted which patients with HER2-positive breast cancer would respond to the drug on a more long-term basis, according to the results of a study published recently in Clinical Cancer Research.

“In addition, Vinay Varadan, PhD, assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, and his colleagues found that women with the HER2-enriched subtype of HER2-positive breast cancer—a subtype that is estrogen and progesterone receptor negative—had the highest rate of immune response to treatment with trastuzumab, with significant increases in immune response after a single dose of the drug.

“ ‘Our study showed, for the first time, that the immune-cell–activating properties of trastuzumab are likely related to the subtypes of breast cancer,’ Varadan said. ‘Knowing this can inform future trials studying the usefulness of adding immunotherapy drugs to trastuzumab.’ “

Higher Folate Intake Associated With Reduced Risk of Hormone Receptor–Negative Breast Cancer in Premenopausal Women

The gist: New research shows that premenopausal women who have more folate in their diet may be less likely to develop estrogen receptor (ER)–negative and progesterone receptor (PR)–negative breast cancer. This doesn’t necessarily mean that folate supplements can prevent cancer. It just shows a correlation between folate and cancer risk.

“In an analysis from the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, de Batlle and colleagues found reduced risks of estrogen receptor–negative and progesterone receptor–negative breast cancer for highest vs lowest dietary folate intake among premenopausal women.

“The study involved EPIC data from 367,993 women aged 35 to 70 years in 10 European countries. During median follow-up of 11.5 years, 11,575 women developed breast cancer. Folate intake was estimated from country-specific questionnaires…

“The investigators concluded: ‘Higher dietary folate intake may be associated with a lower risk of sex hormone receptor–negative breast cancer in premenopausal women.’ ”

Hormone-Unrelated Breast Cancer Death Rate Lowered by Reducing Dietary Fat

“Reducing dietary fat intake for at least 5 years after diagnosis could help improve survival rates for early-stage breast cancer patients with hormone-unrelated breast cancer, according to a new study.

“The findings of the study were presented at the 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium – a 5-day conference aiming to provide state-of-the-art information on breast cancer research to an audience of researchers and physicians from over 90 countries.

” ‘The current findings with respect to long-term influence of dietary lifestyle intervention on overall survival are mixed, but of potential importance,’ reports Dr. Rowan Chlebowski, a medical oncologist from the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, CA.

“The study utilized data taken from the Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS), a randomized trial that had previously been used to test whether dietary intervention can improve the clinical outcome of women with breast cancer, and assessed death rates after 15 years of follow-up.”