1. And the results are...

    Highlights of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium


    The 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium took place this last week from Dec. 6th-10th at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. At Pink Well we wanted to share with our readers some of the highlights of this important yearly event. The symposium this year focused on emerging treatments in hard-to-treat populations, including patients with metastatic breast cancer, and on new knowledge about prevention and risk. The 34th annual symposium draw nearly 8,000 participants from more than 90 countries. 

    The symposium was presented by the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the American Association for Cancer Research and Baylor College of Medicine. This organizations share a mission to advance progress in breast cancer research.

    Some of the most important recent news that came from San Antonio:

    Diabetes and Obesity Increase Risk for Breast Cancer Development

    Having diabetes or being obese after age 60 significantly increases the risk for developing breast cancer, a Swedish study has revealed. Data also showed that high blood lipids were less common in patients when diagnosed with breast cancer, while low blood lipids were associated with an increased risk.

    Brachytherapy Was Associated With Twofold Increased Risk for Mastectomy, Complication

    Compared with women treated with whole-breast irradiation, women treated with brachytherapy experienced a twofold increased risk for losing their breasts, according to findings presented at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 6-10, 2011.

    -Brachytherapy treatment was the “most important factor” affecting mastectomy risk.

    -Brachytherapy was associated with an increased risk for postoperative side effects.

    -Patients treated with brachytherapy also had an increased risk for infection.

    Molecular Differences May Be Used to Predict Early vs. Late Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer Recurrence

    Researchers may have discovered a series of genes that will help predict whether or not a woman with hormone receptor-positive invasive breast cancer will experience early, late or no recurrence of her disease.

    Minetta C. Liu, M.D., associate professor of medicine and oncology and director of translational breast cancer research at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, presented the findings at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 6-10, 2011.

    New Test Predicts Risk for Recurrence for Patients With DCIS

    In a significant advance for patients with ductal carcinoma in situ, researchers have developed and prospectively validated a multigene test to identify the risk for recurrence of breast cancer.

    The method combines measuring tumor gene expression with a gene expression algorithm to decipher the genetic underpinnings of a patient’s cancer and determine whether the individual patient should be treated with surgery (usually lumpectomy) or a combination of surgery and radiation.

    -Multigene assay predicts risk for local recurrence for patients with DCIS.

    -This advance combines knowledge of the genome and new molecular technologies.

    -Test allows physicians to individualize treatment so that lower-risk patients avoid radiation.

    Zoledronic Acid Shows Long-Term Benefit in Survivorship for Premenopausal ER-Positive Breast Cancer

    Researchers have proven the continuing effectiveness of treating patients with estrogen receptor-positive premenopausal breast cancer with adjuvant zoledronic acid in addition to adjuvant endocrine treatment including ovarian function suppression.

    Data from the Austrian Breast & Colorectal Cancer Study Group (ABCSG-12), reported at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 6-10, 2011, confirmed and extended data reported at 48 months and 62 months of follow-up. Now at 84 months of follow-up, patients are experiencing drastically fewer recurrences of breast cancer and improved rates of survivorship without toxic side effects.

    -Zoledronic acid and endocrine treatment improved survivorship in early-stage, premenopausal ER-positive breast cancer.

    -Risk for recurrence decreased by 28 percent, and risk for death decreased by 36 percent.

    -No patients have experienced osteonecrosis of the jaw or renal failure.

    Immediate Bisphosphonate Use With Endocrine Therapy Reduced Recurrence, Increased Survival in Postmenopausal Early Breast Cancer

    The addition of zoledronic acid to adjuvant endocrine therapy increased bone mineral density and reduced the risk for disease recurrence among postmenopausal women with early hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, according to new data from the ZO-FAST trial.

    -Long-term data confirm overall survival benefit with zoledronic acid.

    -Women five years postmenopause had greatest benefit.

    -Even delayed use of zoledronic acid reduced recurrence vs. no use.

    Oral Bisphosphonate Did Not Improve Prognosis for Patients With Breast Cancer

    Results from a German study demonstrated no improvement in disease-free survival among patients with breast cancer who were treated with dose-dense chemotherapy and the bisphosphonate ibandronate.

    Volker Möbus, Ph.D., head of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Klinikum Frankfurt Höchst GmbH in Frankfurt
    , presented the results from the German Adjuvant Intergroup Node Positive (GAIN) Study, at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 6-10, 2011.

    Addition of Bevacizumab to Conventional Therapy Improved Progression-Free Survival in HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

    Data evaluated by an independent review committee revealed that the addition of bevacizumab to trastuzumab and docetaxel significantly improved progression-free survival in HER2-positive breast cancer, despite findings from an investigator assessment that the improvement was present but statistically non-significant.

    -Bevacizumab demonstrated benefit as first-line therapy in treating HER2-positive disease.

    -AVEREL study is the first randomized trial of bevacizumab in HER2-positive breast cancer.

    -Biomarkers are being studied to determine the best use of bevacizumab.

    Dual HER2 Blockade Significantly Extends Progression-Free Survival

    Adding pertuzumab to a combination of trastuzumab and docetaxel chemotherapy extended progression-free survival by a median of 6.1 months in patients with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer compared with patients who received the combination therapy with placebo.

    -Two agents blocking HER2 led to an additional six months of progression-free survival.

    -Side effects were minimal with the addition of pertuzumab.

    -Results published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

    Obesity Linked to Worse Outcomes in Early Breast Cancer Treatment

    Obesity is associated with worse outcomes overall in early-stage breast cancer, researchers reported at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 6-10, 2011.

    -In the overall group, obese patients had an increased risk for worse survival.-Obese patients who received chemotherapy had significantly worse survival outcomes.

    -Overweight patients who received tamoxifen had significantly better survival outcomes.

    MRI May Be Noninvasive Method to Measure Breast Cancer Prognosis

    Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging measures were associated with prognostic tumor markers, demonstrating the potential of magnetic resonance imaging for prediction of disease prognosis and stratification of patients to appropriate therapies, according to preliminary data presented at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 6-10, 2011.

    -MRI is valuable in assessing the extent of breast cancer and monitoring treatment response.

    -Diffusion-weighted MRI and dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI reflect tumor cellularity and vascularity.

    -Both correlated with histopathological markers and prognostic factors.

    Intermittent, Low-Carbohydrate Diets More Successful Than Standard Dieting, Present Possible Intervention for Breast Cancer Prevention

    An intermittent, low-carbohydrate diet was superior to a standard, daily calorie-restricted diet for reducing weight and lowering blood levels of insulin, a cancer-promoting hormone, according to recent findings.

    Researchers at Genesis Prevention Center at University Hospital in South Manchester, England, found that restricting carbohydrates two days per week may be a better dietary approach than a standard, daily calorie-restricted diet for preventing breast cancer and other diseases, but they said further study is needed.

    Many Women Do Not Undergo Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy

    Despite the benefits, only a small minority of women, regardless of age, are opting for immediate reconstructive breast surgery after undergoing mastectomy for treatment of breast cancer, according to data presented at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 6-10, 2011.

    -Less than a quarter of women are undergoing postmastectomy breast reconstruction.

    -Patients’ insurance status impacts the likelihood of undergoing reconstruction.

    -Rates of reconstruction are increasing but still remain low, even among young women.

    Risk for Developing New Cancer in Other Breast Increased for Survivors With BRCA Mutation

    Breast cancer survivors who carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation are at high risk for developing contralateral breast cancer — a new primary tumor in the other breast — and certain women within this group of carriers are at an even greater risk based on age at diagnosis and first tumor status, according to data presented at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 6-10, 2011.

    -Survivors with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation had a more than 10 percent greater risk for developing cancer in their other breast.

    -Age at diagnosis and triple-negative or estrogen receptor status of first cancer further affected risk.

    -Guidelines should be amended to consider these factors when counseling women with the mutation.

    The Institute of Medicine Releases Report on Breast Cancer & the Environment

    “Breast Cancer and the Environment: A Life Course Approach,” a new report from the Institute of Medicine, assesses the breast cancer risk posed by various environmental factors, identifies actions that offer potential to reduce women’s risk for the disease and recommends targets for future research.

    The report, sponsored by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, will be released during a press briefing and presented at a plenary session at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), held Dec. 6-10, 2011.


    For a list of all presentations and to download their content click here.