The annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium was held from Dec. 4 to 8 and attracted approximately 8,000 participants from around the world, including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, researchers, and other health care professionals. The conference highlighted recent advances in the risk, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of breast cancer, with presentations focusing on emerging treatments in hard-to-treat patient populations, including patients with metastatic breast cancer.
In one study, John Yarnold, M.B.B.S., of the Institute of Cancer Research in London, and colleagues found that a hypofractionated radiotherapy treatment regimen following surgery for early breast cancer was less costly to patients and similarly efficacious as the international standard radiotherapy regimen.
“Curative radiotherapy following surgery for early breast cancer delivered at a lower total dose in fewer larger fractions was as safe and effective as the international standard regimen that delivers 50 Gy in 25 fractions of 2 Gy over five weeks,” Yarnold said.
Overall, Yarnold concluded that 40 Gy in 15 fractions administered over three weeks caused fewer chronic adverse effects at 10 years of follow-up and was not inferior in terms of local cancer control when compared to the international standard regimen.
In another study, Stefan Aebi, M.D., of Luzerner Kantonsspital in Switzerland, and colleagues found that chemotherapy following complete surgical removal of local or regional breast cancer recurrence increased survival rates.
“The new information of the CALOR (Chemotherapy as Adjuvant for Locally Recurrent Breast Cancer) trial is that, for women with a completely resected isolated local or regional recurrence of breast cancer, postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy reduced the risk of a further relapse and the risk of dying from breast cancer,” Aebi said. “Five-year disease-free survival rates were 69 percent for women who received adjuvant chemotherapy and 57 percent for those who did not; the risk reduction was more pronounced in women with estrogen receptor negative breast cancer recurrences. The overall survival rate was 88 percent for women who received chemotherapy, compared with 76 percent for those who did not.”
Overall, Aebi concluded that women with isolated local or regional recurrences of breast cancer should receive chemotherapy, particularly if the recurrence is estrogen receptor negative.
Bernadine Cimprich, Ph.D., R.N., of the University of Michigan School of Nursing in Ann Arbor, and colleagues found that cognitive problems commonly associated with chemotherapy may actually be present in woman with breast cancer prior to chemotherapy and attributable to fatigue and pretreatment neurocognitive compromise.
“For a long time, women undergoing treatment for breast cancer have reported cognitive problems such as trouble thinking clearly, remembering things, and carrying out jobs and other responsibilities, which we have attributed to chemotherapy or ‘chemo brain,'” Cimprich said in a statement. “Research shows that these problems do occur in some women during chemotherapy, but we still do not understand what the underlying causes are.”
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Cimprich and colleagues evaluated neurocognitive responses in 28 women who received adjuvant chemotherapy, 37 who received radiotherapy, and 32 healthy controls. The investigators found that woman who underwent chemotherapy experienced greater levels of fatigue and demonstrated poorer performance scores on cognitive tests before chemotherapy and one month after chemotherapy treatment. The investigators also found that higher levels of fatigue were associated with poorer performance on cognitive tests. fMRI also showed reduced function in brain regions needed to perform tasks in those receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy, compared to healthy controls, with higher levels of compromise seen in those receiving chemotherapy.
“Women faced with the decision to undergo chemotherapy should know that cognitive problems, should they occur, may not always stem from chemotherapy,” Cimprich added in a statement. “Women should not avoid accepting recommendations for lifesaving chemotherapy for fear of ‘chemo brain.'”
SABCS: No Benefit in Extending Trastuzumab in HER2 Breast CA
FRIDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) — For patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive early-stage breast cancer, one year of adjuvant trastuzumab should remain the standard of care, according to a study presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Dec. 4 to 8.
SABCS: Bevacizumab No Help in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
FRIDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) — Adding bevacizumab to chemotherapy for the postsurgical treatment of triple-negative breast cancer does not significantly improve invasive disease-free survival compared with chemotherapy alone, according to a study presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Dec. 4 to 8.
SABCS: Pathological Complete Chemo Response Higher in Young
THURSDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) — Compared with older women, those aged 35 or younger with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) are more likely to achieve a pathological complete response (pCR) after treatment with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, according to research presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Dec. 4 to 8.
SABCS: Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy Less Likely in Black Women
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) — Compared with white women, black women with node-negative breast cancer are significantly less likely to receive the less invasive sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) for breast cancer staging, according to a study presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Dec. 4 to 8.
SABCS: Extending Tamoxifen to 10 Years Beneficial in Breast CA
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) — For women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive early breast cancer, continuing tamoxifen to 10 years correlates with reduced risk of recurrence and lower breast cancer-specific and overall mortality, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in The Lancet to coincide with presentation at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Dec. 4 to 8.
SABCS: PD 0332991 + Letrozole Studied in ER+ Breast Cancer
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) — For women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative breast cancer, the investigational agent PD 0332991 plus letrozole improves progression-free survival versus letrozole alone; and fulvestrant 500 mg correlates with improved survival versus the 250-mg dose, according to two studies presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Dec. 4 to 8.