Most Patients Who Carry BRCA1/2 Pathogenic Variants Are Unaware

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael F. Murray, MD, FACMG, FACP Director for Clinical Operations in the Center for Genomic Health Yale School of Medicine

Dr. Murray

Michael F. Murray, MD, FACMG, FACP
Director for Clinical Operations in the Center for Genomic Health
Yale School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Population screening for the cancer risk associated with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes has been suggested by some.  We screened a cohort of about 50,000 adult patient volunteers at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania for this risk.  Continue reading

Patients Most Often Receive Breast Cancer Diagnosis By Phone

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Emily Albright, MD Surgical Oncology Missouri University Health Care

Dr. Albright

Dr. Emily Albright, MD
Surgical Oncology
Missouri University Health Care

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Traditional medicine had a paternalistic approach but more recent changes have transitioned into shared decision making and a patient centered approach. However, current research has not addressed the mode of communicating bad news to patients.

This study was designed to look at trends in modes of communication of a breast cancer diagnosis. This study identified a trend for patients to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer over the telephone in more recent years. Also noted was that of those receiving the diagnosis in person 40% were alone.

Continue reading

Disease-Free and Overall Survival Among Patients With Operable HER2-Positive Breast Cancer Treated With Sequential vs Concurrent Chemotherapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kelly K. Hunt, MD Department of Breast Surgical Oncology The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston

Dr. Hunt

Kelly K. Hunt, MD
Department of Breast Surgical Oncology
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We completed a neoadjuvant trial at MD Anderson Cancer Center and published the results in 2005 demonstrating that trastuzumab delivered in combination with anthracycline and taxane based chemotherapy resulted in pathologic complete response rates of up to 60% in patients with HER-2 positive breast cancer. This was a single institutions study and there was concern about cardiac toxicity when using anthracyclines and trastuzumab concurrently.

We therefore worked with the NCI cooperative groups, the American College of surgeons oncology group (ACOSOG), to design the ACOSOG Z1041 trial. This trial compared to different regimens in the neoadjuvant setting, one regimen utilizing concurrent anthracycline and taxanes based chemotherapy with trastuzumab and the other regimen utilizing concurrent taxanes with trastuzumab but the anthracycline was delivered in a sequential fashion.

The primary end point of the trial was pathologic complete response rates in the breast.

The results from this primary end point were published in the Lancet Oncology in 2013 and showed that the pathologic complete response rates were the same with the 2 different regimens. This was important since patients could be assured of similar efficacy without the potential added toxicity of delivering anthracyclines and trastuzumab together.

The current publication is a report of the disease-free and overall survival rates from the Z1041 trial. Several studies have shown an association between pathologic complete response rates and survival. The current study shows that there is no difference in survival rates between the 2 different regimens. So once again there is an association between pathologic complete response and survival and it is not important that the anthracycline and trastuzumab are given concurrently in order to achieve these high pathologic complete response rates and improve survival rates. Continue reading

Routine Mammography Screening Recommendations Do Not Apply To Women With History of Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lisa A Newman, MD Director of the Breast Oncology Program for the multi-hospital  Henry Ford  Health System

Dr. Newman

Lisa A Newman, MD
Director of the Breast Oncology Program for the multi-hospital
Henry Ford  Health System

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: In 2009 the United States Preventive Services Task Force published a guideline recommending that American women at average risk for breast cancer defer undergoing screening mammography until they reach the age of 50 years. Prior to this publication, women were widely-encouraged to initiate annual mammography at age 40 years. Women that have a history of breast cancer are automatically considered to be at increased risk for developing a new breast cancer, and so routine screening mammography guidelines do not apply to them. These women require annual mammography regardless of age, unless they have undergone a bilateral mastectomy.

We utilized data from Michigan Blue Cross/Blue Shield to evaluate patterns of mammography utilization among women age 40-49 years, comparing rates before versus after 2009, when the USPSTF guideline was published. We analyzed women that had a prior history of breast cancer separately from those that had no history of breast cancer, and we excluded women that underwent bilateral mastectomy.

Disturbingly, we found that mammography utilization rates declined among women with a history of breast cancer as well as among those with no history of breast cancer in the post-2009 timeline.

This suggested to us that changes in screening recommendations may have had the unintended consequence of generating confusion and misunderstandings regarding the value of mammography among women that undeniably benefit from this imaging, such as those with a history of breast cancer.  Continue reading

Continued Aggressive Treatment Indicated For Younger Women with Breast Cancer Who Have Incomplete Response to Chemo

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kathleen Horst, MD Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology (Radiation Therapy)  Stanford University Medical Center

Dr. Kathleen Horst

Kathleen Horst, MD
Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology (Radiation Therapy)
Stanford University Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We were interested in focusing on young women with breast cancer as this is a high-risk patient population that is not studied on its own in clinical trials. Furthermore, the available data on treating breast cancer with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) does not include detailed outcomes for women under the age of 40 years.

Because most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer in this age group will have aggressive disease, most of them will be treated with NAC followed by surgery. From prospective randomized trials we know that women with breast cancer who attain a pathologic complete response (PCR) to neoadjuvant chemotherapy fare significantly better than those who do not. In addition, existing data suggest that a complete response in the lymph nodes also portends a better prognosis. This is the foundation for the currently ongoing NSABP B-51/RTOG 1304 trial, which is evaluating the role of nodal irradiation in those women who attain a pathologic complete response in the lymph nodes after NAC. We wanted to know whether differences in pathologic response in the breast versus lymph nodes led to different clinical outcomes in this patient group.

We evaluated outcomes following neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer in 155 women age 40 and younger. We focused on pathologic response in the breast and lymph nodes as predictors of disease recurrence and survival. We found that any residual disease in either the breast or lymph nodes lessened the chance of cure significantly.

Importantly, women who attained a complete response in the lymph nodes but continued to have residual disease in the breast fared just as poorly as those who remained lymph node positive following neoadjuvant chemotherapy.  Continue reading

Breast and Ovarian Cancers: More Genes Than BRCA1 and BRCA2

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ambry GeneticsShuwei Li, PhD
Principal Statistical Geneticist
Ambry Genetics

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, while ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death due to cancer, in US women. Since the discovery of BRCA1 and BRCA2, multiple genes have been reported as risk factors; however, it is still unclear whether the known findings represent the complete genetic landscape of breast and ovarian cancers.

Our team performed exome sequencing on more than 10,000 breast and/or ovarian cancer patients and nearly 4,000 controls. We observed increased risk of breast cancer associated with PALB2, ATM, CHEK2 and MSH6 genes, and increased risk of ovarian cancer associated with MSH6, RAD51C, TP53 and ATM genes.   Continue reading

DCIS is a Bona Fide Breast Cancer, Not a Cancer Precursor

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Steven Narod, MD, FRCPC, FRSC Senior Scientist, Women’s College Research Institute Director, Familial Breast Cancer Research Unit, Women's College Research Institute Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto Professor, Department of Medicine Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Breast Cancer University of Toronto

Dr. Narod

Steven Narod, MD, FRCPC, FRSC
Senior Scientist, Women’s College Research Institute
Director, Familial Breast Cancer Research Unit, Women’s College Research Institute
Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
Professor, Department of Medicine
Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Breast Cancer
University of Toronto

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: In the past we have shown that about 3 percent of women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) will die of breast cancer within 20  years of diagnosis.   In the current study, we took a very close look at how the different treatments impact on the risk of dying of breast cancer.

Women with DCIS are at risk for  both a new cancer within the breast and dying of breast cancer from cells that spread beyond the breast (lung, liver, brain and bone).   About 20% of DCIS patients will get a new breast cancer within the breast at 20 years.

  • We show here that it is not necessary to develop a new cancer within the breast to die of breast cancer,  in some cases the DCIS spreads directly in the absence of local recurrence.
  • We show that radiotherapy can prevent 25% of the deaths from breast cancer after DCIS. And this has nothing to do with local recurrence.
  • We show that mastectomy reduces the chance of a getting a new cancer (local recurrence) but  doesn’t reduce the chance of dying of breast cancer.

So, if the goal is to prevent new cancers in the breast –   then mastectomy is the best treatment

If the goal is to prevent the woman from dying of breast cancer – then radiotherapy is the best treatment.  Continue reading

Coming Soon – More Lung than Breast Cancer in Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“smoking” by shira gal is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Jose M. Martín-Sánchez
IP of this study
Grupo de Evaluación de Determinantes de Salud y Políticas Sanitarias
Universitat Internacional de Catalunya
Sant Cugat del Vallès
Spain


MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Breast cancer has been the first cause of death from cancer among women. However, the mortality rates of breast cancer have been decreased in the last years. This downward trend can be attributed to treatment and screening programs. On the other hand, smoking has been increased among women during the last century and the main cause of lung cancer is smoking behavior. Based on this data, we hypothesized that the lung cancer mortality could outweigh the breast cancer mortality in the next years and the main purpose of this study was to project the mortality rates of lung cancer and breast cancer in women worldwide, based in previous data and using Bayesian methods, in order to identify potential strategies of public health to reduce the impact of lung cancer. Moreover, previous works described the lung and breast cancer mortality or projected one of them in a single country. For example, we have published two articles with data of Spain one of them with the description of lung cancer mortality trend in men and women and other with the projection of lung and breast cancer among women. The information of this study provides an overall point view around the word of this problem of public health.

Continue reading

Yin Yang 1 Regulatory Protein May Help Breast Cancer Evade Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Luca Magnani, Ph.D CRUK Fellow/Senior Research Fellow Department of Surgery and Cancer Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine Room 140 1st floor ICTEM building Imperial College Hammersmith London, UK

Dr. Magnani

Luca Magnani, Ph.D
CRUK Fellow/Senior Research Fellow
Department of Surgery and Cancer
Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine
Room 140 1st floor ICTEM building
Imperial College Hammersmith
London, UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by the Yin Yang1 molecule?

Response: This study was designed to investigate the evidence of non-genetic mechanisms that could contribute to breast cancer biology. Specifically, we developed a map of regulatory regions from luminal breast cancer patients. Regulatory regions are pieces of DNA that are not transcribed into protein-coding genes but they provide information about where and how much each gene should be activated.

It is worth highlighting that cancer is not only the consequence of gene mutations but also the result of the wrong genes expressed at the wrong time.  To catalogue regulatory regions we looked for specific modifications that are strongly associated with their activity (epigenetic modifications). Doing so we developed the first extensive catalogue  of non-coding DNA regions that might play an essential role in regulating how breast cancer cell behaves. Regulatory regions do their job by interacting with specific molecules called transcription factors. These molecules can read the information stored in these regulatory regions and contribute to regulate gene expression. Yin Yang 1 is one of such molecules and was previously thought as a ambiguous player capable of activating or repressing gene activity.   Continue reading

Early Dinner May Lower Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Christmas Roast and Ham Dinner. Had Tamales for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. #Roast #Ham #ChristmasDinner #Christmas #Champagne #Dinner #Foodstagram” by Yvonne Esperanza is licensed under CC BY 2.0Manolis Kogevinas, MD, PhD

Research Professor
NCDs & Environment Group
Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) – Campus MAR
Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) (office 194)
Barcelona, Spain

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We did the study for two main reasons.

(i) breast and to a less extent prostate cancer are the cancers that have been associated with night shift work and resulting circadian disruption (disruption of the natural day-light cycle);

(ii) experimental studies in animals indicate that timing of diet is important. For example, giving an hypercaloric diet to mice during the day results in obesity, while giving the same diet during the night does not. Mice are nocturnal animals and this means that there normal eating time is the night when they can metabolise what they eat. So, would something similar affect humans? When we eat in late hours at a time when “normally” (normally in the sense of evolution) we would be resting.

In this study we show that adherence to a more diurnal eating pattern and specifically an early supper and a long interval between last meal and sleep are associated with a lower breast and prostate cancer risk. Specifically having super before 9pm and having an interval of 2 hours between the last big meal and sleep, were both associated with an approximately 20% prevention of breast and prostate cancer) compared to those who have supper after 10pm or those who eat and then sleep very close after supper.

Also, the strongest protection was found in “morning types” as compared to “evening types”. Morning types are expected to function worse than evening types in late evening so late suppers may have more adverse effects on them.

Continue reading

Acupuncture For Pain in Breast Cancer Patients on Aromatase Inhibitors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dawn Hershman, MD, MS, FASCO Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology Leader, Breast Cancer Program Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Hershman

Dawn Hershman, MD, MS, FASCO
Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Leader, Breast Cancer Program
Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
Columbia University Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Aromatase inhibitors are effective in reducing the risk of recurrence in hormone sensitive breast cancer, however they commonly cause joint pain and stiffness that can lead to early discontinuation of treatment. We know that women who stop early do not get the same benefits as those who continue for the full duration.

Acupuncture has been shown to improve a variety of pain syndromes. We conducted a large multicenter trial among women with joint pain on aromatase inhibitors and randomized patients to true acupuncture, sham acupuncture and a waitlist control arm.

We found that acupuncture resulted in more pain reduction than the other 2 control groups. Measuring pain can be challenging in clinical trials. We now know that a meaningful reduction for a patient is 2 points on a 10 point scale. We found that nearly 60 percent of women in the true acupuncture group experienced at least a 2-point reduction in pain, versus 33 percent of the sham acupuncture group and 31 percent of the controls. These results where highly statistically significant.  Continue reading

Targeting Breast Cancer Screening To Higher Risk Patients Reduces Overdiagnosis, Costs and Side Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Nora Pashayan PhD Clinical Reader in Applied Health Research University College London Dept of Applied Health Research London 

Dr. Pashayan

Dr Nora Pashayan PhD

Clinical Reader in Applied Health Research

University College London

Dept of Applied Health Research

London 

MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?

Response: Not all women have the same risk of developing breast cancer and not all women have the same potential to benefit from screening.

 

If the screening programme takes into account the individual variation in risk, then evidence from different studies indicate that this could improve the efficiency of the screening programme. However, questions remain on what is the best risk-stratified screening strategy, does risk-stratified screening add value for money, and what are benefit and harm trade-offs.

Continue reading

Higher Vitamin D Levels Linked to Lower Breast Cancer Incidence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cedric F. Garland, Dr.P.H., F.A.C.E. Adjunct Professor Division of Epidemiology Department of Family Medicine and Public Health University of California San Diego La Jolla, California 92093-0620

Dr. Garland

Cedric F. Garland, Dr.P.H., F.A.C.E.
Adjunct Professor
Division of Epidemiology
Department of Family Medicine and Public Health
University of California San Diego
La Jolla, California 92093-0620

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Studies mapping death rates from female breast cancer in the US, the former USSR and Canada by Drs. Edward Gorham, and Frank and Cedric Garland revealed for the first time in history that death rates from breast cancer tracked latitude where people lived.

The rates were highest in the least sunny northern tier of states, lowest in the sunny southwest. This led these scientists to be the first to theorize that vitamin D prevents breast cancer” said study first author Sharon McDonnell. Continue reading

Panitumumab (Vectibix) For Primary HER2-Negative Inflammatory Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Naoto Tada Ueno, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.P. Executive Director, Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic Section Chief, Section of Translational Breast Cancer Research, Department of Breast Medical Oncology Division of Cancer Medicine The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TXNaoto Tada Ueno, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.P.
Executive Director, Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic
Section Chief, Section of Translational Breast Cancer Research, Department of Breast Medical Oncology
Division of Cancer Medicine
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The best outcome of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is dependent on achieving a pathological completed response after neoadjuvant chemotherapy for primary inflammatory breast cancer, which is the most aggressive type of breast cancer.

We have conducted extensive preclinical work, which showed that EGFR is a potential therapeutic targets of IBC.

Based on this preclinical data, we have conducted a phase II study to determine the pathological complete response rate of panitumumab plus neoadjuvant chemotherapy for HER2 negative primary inflammatory breast cancer.  Continue reading

First in Class Antibody-Drug Conjugate Shows Promise in Metastatic Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Aditya Bardia  MD, MPH Assistant Professor, Medicine, Harvard Medical School Attending Physician, Medical Oncology Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Bardia

Dr. Aditya Bardia  MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Attending Physician, Medical Oncology
Massachusetts General Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Hormone receptor-positive (HR+)/ and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) breast cancer is the most common sub-type of breast cancer. While metastatic HR+/HER2- breast cancer is initially treated with endocrine therapy-based combinations, including CDK 4/6 inhibitors, patients eventually have disease progression, but the response rate to standard chemotherapy is low (~10-15 percent, post-taxane setting). In particular, patients with visceral disease have a poor prognosis.

In this trial, we evaluated the efficacy of sacituzumab govitecan in patients with metastatic HR+/HER2- breast cancer, who had measurable disease and had received prior therapies for metastatic breast cancer. We observed an overall response rate of 31 percent in a heavily pre-treated population (prior number of therapies for metastatic breast cancer = 5; number of patients with prior CDK 4/6 inhibitor use = 69 percent). The responses were durable (median duration of response = 7.4 months). Neutropenia was the main adverse event noted (grade 3 neutropenia = 42 percent), and two patients (3.7 percent) discontinued the clinical trial due to adverse events. The response rate in patients with visceral metastaseswas 27 percent.  Continue reading

Novel SM-88 Therapy Has Potential Efficacy in Metastatic Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Giuseppe Del Priore, MD, MPH Chief Medical Officer of Tyme Inc. 

Dr. Del Priore

Dr. Giuseppe Del Priore, MD, MPH
Chief Medical Officer of Tyme Inc.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Metastatic breast cancer, sometimes also called “stage IV” or “advanced breast cancer,” is the most extensive stage of breast cancer. It is an invasive cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, most often bones, lungs, liver, and brain. The current standard of care for metastatic breast cancer is systemic drug therapies, such as hormone therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drugs or a combination of these.  Because they reach every cell in the body, they have side effects that can worsen the patient’s quality of life. Existing treatments cannot cure metastatic breast cancer and are palliative in intent. This presents a great unmet need and challenge in treating patients with metastatic breast cancer.

SM-88 is a novel relatively non-toxic combination therapy that harnesses cancer’s unique cell metabolism and oxidative stress to selectively drive cancer cell death. Earlier studies with SM-88 therapy demonstrated its potential efficacy in breast and other metastatic cancers. In this current report, we assessed the efficacy of SM-88 in patients with metastatic breast cancer from the first in human “Phase 1” and compassionate use programs from 2012 to 2017. Data demonstrated the potential efficacy of SM-88 in metastatic breast cancer with favorable safety and quality of life profiles. In addition, there were no indications of cross-resistance based on hormone profile, previous treatments or metastatic site. This is an extremely important finding since most cancer deaths are due to resistance to subsequent therapies.  As predicted by the SM-88 mechanism of action, we could not detect this problem with SM-88 use.

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Everolimus Plus Exemestane vs Monotherapy for ER+ HER2- Advanced Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Guy Jerusalem, MD, PhD CHU Sart Tilman Liege and Liege University Liege, Belgium

Dr. Jerusalem

Dr. Guy Jerusalem, MD, PhD
CHU Sart Tilman Liege and Liege University
Liege, Belgium

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: BOLERO-6 was conducted to fulfill postapproval regulatory commitments to the FDA and EMA to estimate treatment benefit with EVE + EXE vs EVE alone or CAP for ER+, HER2− ABC that had progressed on an NSAI. Everolimus plus exemestane has not previously been compared with everolimus alone or capecitabine in a randomized setting.Data describing everolimus alone are limited to a single phase 2 study of just 19 patients. Thus, the FDA deemed it important to ascertain the efficacy of everolimus alone for ER+ breast cancer, and to determine the contribution of exemestane to combination therapy with everolimus. Capecitabine is often the first chemotherapeutic agent given for ER+ breast cancer that has progressed on anti-estrogen therapy. It has a reported PFS of 4.1–7.9 months among patients with HER2-negative advanced breast cancer. However, it has a different safety profile to everolimus or exemestane, and a comparison of endocrine-based combination therapy with single-agent chemotherapy was yet to be conducted.

The median PFS with EVE + EXE (8.4 months) was consistent with BOLERO-2 (7.8 months), and compared to EVE alone here (6.8 months) corresponded to an estimated 26% reduction of risk of disease progression or death (HR 0.74).

A numerical median PFS difference was observed for CAP over EVE + EXE (9.6 vs 8.4 months), which may be attributed to various baseline characteristics favoring CAP and potential informative censoring. The median PFS with capacitabine was longer than expected based on previous trials. Interpretation of the results of BOLERO-6 must consider the limited sample size and open-label design.  Continue reading

Can a Pill Plus Infrared Light Replace Mammograms?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Greg Thurber, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Chemical Engineering Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical Engineering University of Michigan 

Dr. Thurber

Greg Thurber, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering
Assistant Professor
Department of Biomedical Engineering
University of Michigan 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Most current disease screening strategies rely on either blood tests, where the physician can obtain information on specific disease molecules but has no idea where they originated in the body, or anatomical imaging, where the physician can see changes in the structure of tissues but doesn’t have any molecular information. We wanted to develop a method that could provide both molecular information and an image of where these molecules were located. We know from decades of research in cancer that this is a molecular disease, so providing molecular information to the physician will help improve detection and diagnosis. Breast cancer screening provides an excellent opportunity to apply this approach to improve detection. Currently, estimates indicate that we are overspending $4 billion per year on the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of breast cancer because we cannot accurately determine which patients need treatment and which can be safely monitored with no intervention. Despite this problem with overdiagnosis, however, screening saves lives…we simply need a better way.

Molecular imaging has the capability of providing both molecular information and the location within the body. However, most of these techniques are expensive and use ionizing radiation, meaning there is a small risk of actually causing cancer. This is not acceptable for screening large numbers of otherwise healthy patients. To avoid this risk and provide a safe, inexpensive, and relatively easy method for patients to undergo screening, we decided to develop near-infrared fluorescent imaging agents that can be taken as a pill. The goal is for the patient to simply take a pill a day or two before their visit, and then the physician shines near-infrared light on the breast tissue to detect tumors where they ‘light up’ by giving off a different color of light.

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Benefits and Complexities of More Breast Cancer Genes to Screen For

Dr-Allison W. Kurian

Dr. Kurian

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Allison W. Kurian, M.D., M.Sc.

Associate Professor of Medicine (Oncology) and of Health Research and Policy
Director, Women’s Clinical Cancer Genetics Program
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, CA 94305-5405 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Changes in genetic sequencing technology and regulation have allowed much cheaper testing of many more genes in recent years. We investigated how these changes have affected hereditary cancer risk evaluation in women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

The main findings are that more comprehensive multiple-gene sequencing tests have rapidly replaced more limited tests of two genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) only. This has helped patients by doubling the chance of finding an important gene mutation that can change their treatment options.

However, there are important gaps in how this new, more comprehensive sequencing is used: more testing delays and more uncertain results, particularly among racial/ethnic minority women.  Continue reading

Osteoporosis Drug Has Potential To Fight Triple Negative Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Chenfang Dong, Ph.D & M.D.
Professor
Department of Pathology and Pathophysiology
Zhejiang University School of Medicine, 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Basal-like breast cancer (BLBC), which generally falls into the triple-negative breast cancer subtype, is associated with a poor clinical outcome due to few treatment options and poor therapeutic response; thus there is a pressing need to elucidate the determinants of aggressiveness in BLBC and identify potential therapeutic targets for this challenging disease.

By analyzing gene expression profiles of breast cancer in multiple publicly available datasets that contain over 5000 cases, we have identified that UDP-galactose ceramide galactosyltransferase (UGT8), a key enzyme in the sulfatide biosynthetic pathway, promotes BLBC progression by activating sulfatide-αVβ5 axis.

Importantly, we identify that zoledronic acid (ZA), a marketed drug for treating osteoporosis and bone metastasis, is a direct inhibitor of UGT8, which has the potential to become a valuable targeted drug for treating Basal-like breast cancer.  Continue reading

Liquid Biopsy Can Guide Radiation Therapy in Early Stage Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chelain Goodman, MD PhD PGY-3, Radiation Oncology Northwestern University Chicago, IL 60611

Dr. Goodman

Chelain Goodman, MD PhD
PGY-3, Radiation Oncology
Northwestern University
Chicago, IL 60611

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Circulating tumor cells are cancer cells that are shed from the primary tumor into the peripheral blood stream and are hypothesized to be one of the first steps in the initiation of metastatic progression. Prospective studies have demonstrated that approximately 15-25% of patients with early-stage breast cancer can be found to have at least one circulating tumor cell in a small sample of their blood. Currently, all patients with early-stage invasive breast cancer who undergo breast conserving surgery receive adjuvant radiation therapy. In these analyses, we wanted to determine whether presence of circulating tumor cells may be predictive of benefit of radiation therapy following surgery.

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What’s the Prognosis If You Get Breast Cancer After a Negative Mammogram?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anne Marie McCarthy, PhD Department of Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston

Dr. McCarthy

Anne Marie McCarthy, PhD
Department of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Boston

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Mammography is effective in reducing breast cancer mortality. However, it is not perfect, and approximately 15% of breast cancers are diagnosed despite a negative mammogram before the next recommended screening.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Using data from the NCI funded PROSPR (Population-Based Research Optimizing Screening through Personalized Regimens) Consortium, we determined the rates of cancer diagnosis within one year following a negative or positive screening mammogram. The rate of cancer diagnosis within one year of a negative mammogram was small (5.9 per 10,000 screenings), but those cancers were more likely to have poor prognosis than cancers diagnosed after a positive mammogram (43.8% vs. 26.9%). As expected, women with dense breasts were more likely to have cancer diagnosed within 1 year of a negative mammogram. However, breast density was not a good predictor of poor prognosis among women diagnosed with cancer after a negative mammogram. Younger women were more likely to be diagnosed with poor prognosis breast cancer after a negative screening mammogram.

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Which Cancers Cost The Most To Treat?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Matthew P. Banegas, PhD, MPH Center for Health Research Kaiser Permanente

Dr. Banegas

Matthew P. Banegas, PhD, MPH
Center for Health Research
Kaiser Permanente

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Despite a large body of research on cancer care costs, we observed a significant evidence gap. Namely, while about one-half of cancer diagnoses in the U.S. occur among people under age 65, it can be difficult to find good data on the costs of care for this population. That’s because most of the current literature on cancer care costs is based on SEER Medicare data, which are limited to Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries.

At a time of rising costs and an ever-increasing number of new therapies, we felt it was important to improve our understanding of cancer costs for U.S. adults of all ages. We examined medical care costs for the four most common types of cancer in the United States: breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer.

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Protein Associated with Metastatic Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Yingfei Wang, Ph.D. and Weibo Luo, Ph.D.
Department of Pathology
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas TX 75390

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. Tumor metastasis is frequently found in breast cancer patients and causes more than 90% of cancer death. There is currently no cure for this deadly disease. We have known that breast tumor is not supplied with sufficient oxygen (a phenomenon known as hypoxia), which makes breast cancer cells more aggressive and may be responsible for tumor recurrence, metastasis, and therapy resistance. Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) is a master regulator frequently detected in the hypoxic regions and switches on many oncogenes needed for breast cancer cells to grow and spread around the body. The role of HIF in gene regulation is precisely controlled and shutting down of HIF’s activity would be a promising strategy for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.

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Digital Breast Tomosynthesis + Synthetic 2D Mammography Detects More Breast Cancers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Solveig Hofvind, Dr. Philos.
Cancer Registry of Norway
Majorstuen, Oslo

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: To test out Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) in combination with synthethic images (SM) as a screening tool for breast cancer.

We screened the women in Oslo with DBT+SM using equipment from Hologic, while women in the neighboring counties were screened with Digital Mammography.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: We found a 50% higher rate of screen-detected breast cancer among women screened with DBT+SM compared with  Digital Mammography

Both the rate of invasive breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ was higher. Tumors detected with DBT+SM were smaller and less aggressive compared to those detected with Digital Mammography.
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We found no differences in recall rates between the two groups.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Screening with Digital Breast Tomosynthesis and Synthetic 2D Mammography detects more breast cancer as Digital Mammography. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: We need to follow the women for interval breast cancer, but also the rate of screen-detected breast cancer and the characteristics of the tumors in the next screening round. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The pro and cons of implementing Digital Breast Tomosynthesis and Synthetic 2D Mammography in a screening setting need further investigation, according to cost-effectiveness, also in a financial perspective. 

Citations: 

Radiology. 2018 Mar 1:171361. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2018171361. [Epub ahead of print]

Digital Breast Tomosynthesis and Synthetic 2D Mammography versus Digital Mammography: Evaluation in a Population-based Screening Program.

Hofvind S1, Hovda T1, Holen ÅS1, Lee CI1, Albertsen J1, Bjørndal H1, Brandal SHB1, Gullien R1, Lømo J1, Park D1, Romundstad L1, Suhrke P1, Vigeland E1, Skaane P1. 

 

 

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