"After making great strides for some patients with melanoma and lung cancer, immunotherapy drugs are starting to offer hope for women with a very challenging form of breast cancer—triple-negative breast cancer.
Data presented Dec. 10 at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium showed that the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) was well tolerated by women with recurrent or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer and showed early signs of effectiveness. The PD-L1 inhibitor MPDL3280A was also found to be safe and tolerable for women with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, with tumor shrinkage in some women.
This phase I, nonrandomized multicenter trial involved 32 patients from 29 to 72 years old who had heavily pretreated recurrent or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. Patients received intravenous infusions of pembrolizumab every two weeks. Safety and tolerability of the drug—the standard endpoints of a phase I trial—were assessed, as well as antitumor activity."
Susan Zager's insight:
According to the article, "Triple-negative breast cancer is an area of active research,” says Nanda. “We are learning more about the different subtypes and are working hard to develop targeted approaches for patients with all forms of this disease. I would encourage patients with triple-negative breast cancer to consider enrolling in clinical trials if possible, so that together we can advance our understanding of these tumors and improve outcomes for women with this form of breast cancer.”
"Results from the final analysis of progression-free survival, response rate, and safety for the randomised, phase III Breast Cancer Trials of Oral Everolimus-1 (BOLERO-1) were presented at the 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
“BOLERO-1 is a randomised, double-blind, phase III clinical trial evaluating whether the addition of everolimus, an mTOR inhibitor, to trastuzumab and paclitaxel improves progression- free survival for patients with HER2-positive, advanced breast cancer who have received no prior treatments for advanced disease,” said Sara A. Hurvitz, MD, an associate clinical professor of medicine and director of the Breast Oncology Program in the University of California, Los Angeles, Division of Haematology/Oncology.
“In San Antonio, we will be presenting data on progression-free survival for the overall patient population and in the subpopulation of patients with hormone receptor-negative disease,” continued Hurvitz. “We will also show our analysis of secondary endpoints of the study, including safety.”
"The trial will include breast cancer patients with low expression of HER2
Synthon Biopharmaceuticals (‘Synthon’) today announced that the first patients with metastatic solid tumors have commenced treatment with its investigational anti-HER2 antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), SYD985.
First patients for this trial are being enrolled in leading European oncology centers Radboud University Medical Center (Nijmegen, the Netherlands), the Jules Bordet Institute (Brussels, Belgium) and the Institute of Cancer Research at The Royal Marsden Hospital (London, United Kingdom). The trial will recruit at least 76 patients and more centers are expected to join the trial in 2015.
This trial is a two part first-in-human Phase I study. In the dose escalation part of the trial, safety and efficacy of SYD985 will be evaluated in patients with locally advanced or metastatic solid tumors of any origin. In the expanded cohort part of the trial, only patients with breast and gastric cancer will be enrolled. The expanded cohorts will include patients currently indicated for HER2-targeted treatment as well as patients with HER2 2+ and HER2 1+ breast cancer for whom there currently is no effective anti-HER2 therapy available."
"Montreal, QC - A team of researchers at the IRCM, led by Jean-François Côté, have discovered a potential new therapeutic target to prevent the invasion of cancer cells, which could have a significant impact on breast cancer treatment. Their breakthrough was published online this week by the scientific journal Molecular and Cellular Biology.
The researchers are interested in understanding the molecular details involved in metastasis, which is the spread of cancer from one organ to another. This harmful process accounts for nearly 90 percent of cancer patient deaths.
"We investigated a molecule called Axl, which is detected at the surface of cancer cells and is known to be involved in various types of invasive cancer," said Dr. Côté, director of the Cytoskeletal Organization and Cell Migration research unit at the IRCM. "In fact, a high amount of Axl on breast tumours is closely associated with metastasis and a poor prognosis for patients. The molecule's mechanisms remain poorly understood, but we are now excited to have found how it works inside the cell."
"LA JOLLA–Like a colony of bacteria or species of animals, cancer cells within a tumor must evolve to survive. A dose of chemotherapy may kill hundreds of thousands of cancer cells, for example, but a single cell with a unique mutation can survive and quickly generate a new batch of drug-resistant cells, making cancer hard to combat.
Now, scientists at the Salk Institute have uncovered details about how cancer is able to become drug resistant over time, a phenomenon that occurs because cancer cells within the same tumor aren’t identical–the cells have slight genetic variation, or diversity. The new work, published October 20 in PNAS, shows how variations in breast cancer cells’ RNA, the molecule that decodes genes and produces proteins, helps the cancer to evolve more quickly than previously thought. These new findings may potentially point to a “switch” to turn off this diversity–and thereby drug resistance–in cancer cells. "
"Until earlier this week, I had 20/20 vision, but thanks to a rare side effect from a necessary medical procedure, that’s no longer true.
I had stepped into the hyperbaric oxygen chamber in hopes of healing my jaw necrosis. If you haven’t heard of the chamber, it is used for wounds that will not heal.
Instead, I got cataracts— a one-in-a-billion side effect.
After receiving 20 of the 40 sessions prescribed for me, I was driving home and thought it odd that I could barely see the street signs that came my way. Then I remembered one of the men in the chamber had said that he became near-sighted after his first round of sessions (it was now a year later, and he was trying it again). He said the near-sightedness lasted for about three weeks, and then his eyesight returned to normal.
As usual— thinking like Mary Poppins, as I often do— I thought, “That could never happen to me!” But everything happens to me."
Susan Zager's insight:
"Noreen Fraser is living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She is the Founder and CEO of the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to funding groundbreaking women's cancer research."
More than 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer each year, and recent research suggests that military service members are disproportionately affected. In fact, more women have been evacuated from the theaters in Iraq and Afghanistan for breast cancer-related causes than any other reason. While some of this startling increase may be attributed to more sophisticated methods of detection as well as more frequent examinations, this does not account for the staggering difference in our veterans.
Unfortunately, since the Department of Veterans Affairs currently fails to recognize breast cancer as a service-related disability, veterans remain ineligible for the health coverage they earned through their service. When Rep. Boswell introduced the Armed Forces Breast Cancer Research Act (H.R. 4869) to the House of Representatives in May, he took an important and necessary step towards correcting this disparity. The time has come for you and your congressional colleagues to continue the work of Boswell and make this bill into law.
Susan Zager's insight:
Please read and sign this petition. It is unacceptable that our military personnel are not covered for breast cancer treatments.
"A new breast cancer vaccine candidate, GP2, provides further evidence of the potential of immunotherapy in preventing disease recurrence.
This is especially the case for high-risk patients when it is combined with a powerful immunotherapy drug. These findings are being presented by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center at the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Breast Cancer Symposium in San Francisco.
“This is an important and different avenue in immunotherapy research, in that we are investigating ways to prevent cancer recurrence by stimulating the immune system to treat cancer,” says principal investigator Elizabeth Mittendorf, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Surgical Oncology. “The ultimate goal is to develop a preventative tool that will minimize the risk of recurrence in women who have already had breast cancer and for whom standard therapies have failed.”
One of only a few vaccines of its kind in development, GP2 has been shown to be safe and effective for breast cancer patients, reducing recurrence rates by 57 percent. Further, women with the highest overexpression of HER2, also known as HER2 +3, had no cancer recurrences when they were administered the vaccine after completing trastuzumab (Herceptin), a type of immunotherapy drug known as a monoclonal antibody. HER2 is an oncoprotein that promotes tumor growth and is expressed to some extent in 75-80 percent of breast cancers.
The number of breast cancer patients undergoing immediate breast reconstruction operations after mastectomy has grown steadily over the past 15 years, according to new research. the overall success rate in the high-risk population is over 88 percent, which the study authors consider high, although complications such as implant explantation and flap problems do occur.
"Dr. Lee Schwartzberg, Editor-in-Chief of PracticeUpdate Oncology, recommends the following papers in breast cancer to be presented at the ESMO 2014 Congress held September 27 through September 30, 2014, in Madrid.
September 27, 2014; 12:45 PM–1:45 PM
Poster Discussion: Metastatic and Locally Advanced Breast Cancer: Facing With Heterogeneity and Endpoints in Clinical Trials
358PD Vinflunine (VFL) plus capecitabine (CAPE) for advanced breast cancer (ABC) previously treated with or resistant to anthracycline and resistant to taxane : a phase 3 study versus capecitabine.
Authors: MM Jimenez, Y Demidchik, I Bondarenko, et al
This open-label, multicenter study randomized 770 ABC patients (up to three prior CT regimens) to VFL plus CAPE (n=384) or CAPE alone (n = 386). Patients taking VFL plus CAPE had prolonged PFS compared with CAPE alone (median, 5.6 vs 4.1 months; P = .0426). VFL plus CAPE had better response rate (22.9% vs 17.9%), disease control rate (57.3% vs 47.9%), and OS (674 total deaths; 13.9 months vs 11.7 months). The most frequent grade 3/4 event was neutropenia for the combination and hand–foot syndrome for CAPE.
For A/T pretreated/resistant patients with ABC, VFL plus CAPE showed significant improvement in PFS over CAPE alone.
359PD Final efficacy and safety analysis of the CARIN phase III trial: Capecitabine (Cap) and bevacizumab (Bev) with or without vinorelbine (Vin) in 1st line metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
Authors: A Welt, N Marschner, C Lerchenmüller, et al
"Advanced breast cancer (ABC) is a treatable but still generally incurable disease. The goals of care are to optimize both length and quality of life. Due to continuous research, several advances have been made, particularly for the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2)-positive and for luminal-like subtypes. Notwithstanding these advances, median overall survival of patients with ABC is still only 2–3 years, although the range is wide [1–5], and survival may be longer for patients treated in specialized institutions . Implementation of current knowledge is highly variable among countries and within each country.
The use of treatment guidelines has been associated with a significant improvement in survival [7–9]. This has been achieved mainly in early breast cancer. For ABC, and particularly metastatic breast cancer (MBC), less level 1 evidence exists and only recently has international consensus guidelines been developed (ABC1) . The ABC Consensus Conference was created by the European School of Oncology (ESO) with the ambitious goal of improving outcomes for all patients with ABC. Backed by strong political advocacy, ABC guidelines are seeking to improve standards of care, to raise awareness about how to best meet to the needs of this underserved group of patients, and to identify research priorities, so that clinical research is focused on the most important areas of unmet need.
Following the work of the ESO-ABC Task Force [11–14], created in 2005, and the successful undertaking of the 1st International Consensus Guidelines Conference on ABC (ABC1), held in November 2011, the 2nd International Consensus Conference for Advanced Breast Cancer (ABC2) took place in Lisbon, Portugal, on 7–9 November 2013. The conference brought together about 1100 participants from 71 countries, including health professionals, patient advocates, and journalists. A series of guidelines were discussed and agreed upon, based on the most up-to-date evidence, and can be used to guide treatment decision-making in diverse health-care settings globally. These guidelines are developed as a joint effort from ESO and ESMO (European Society of Medical Oncology), are endorsed by EUSOMA (European Society of Breast Cancer Specialists), SIS (Senologic International Society), and Flam (Federación Latino Americana de Mastologia), and organized under the auspices of UICC (Union Internationale Contre Le Cancer), OECI (Organization of European Cancer Institutes), and the BCRF (Breast Cancer Research Foundation).
"Five years of tamoxifen provided 20 years of breast cancer prevention to some at-risk women who took it prophylactically.
However, their 20-year all-cause mortality was no different from those taking placebo (182 vs. 166 deaths), nor was their mortality from breast cancer (31 vs. 26, respectively), Jack Cuzick, Ph.D., said at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
“While we saw clear, lasting benefits of tamoxifen in reducing breast cancer incidence, uncertainty with respect to mortality remains,” said Dr. Cuzick, the John Snow professor of epidemiology at Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary University, London.
He suggested that, in light of the small number of deaths, the study was not sufficiently powered to detect any significant survival difference. But women in the IBIS-1 trial will continue to be observed, and future analyses could clarify the issue, he added.
“Although 20 years seems like a long follow-up time, it is actually too early to make any clear statement about mortality,” he said. “However, we are concerned about an excess emergence of ER-negative tumors, which we saw after 10 years.”
'3 specific cells' combo behind breast cancer spread, confirm scientists - In a new study, scientists have found that it is the specific trio of cells that causes breast cancer to spread. A study, led by researchers at the NCI-designated Albert Einstein Cancer Center and Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care, combining tumor cells from patients with breast cancer with a laboratory model of blood vessel lining provides the most compelling evidence so far, and the findings could lead to better tests for predicting whether a woman's breast cancer will spread and to new anti-cancer therapies.
"There exists a “type” of cancer that is common yet rarely discussed—metastatic disease, or cancer that has spread from the part of the body where it originated (the primary tumor) to another (such as lungs, bones or liver). Each year, at least 2.6 million people in the developed world die of cancers that have metastasized. Although much research is being done to combat primary tumors, there still exists a crucial need to find a treatment that can be effective against metastatic cancer, or “mets.”
Could a virus be the key to finally beating the mets? The question is not as odd as it might sound. Virotherapy or oncolytic virus therapy involves the conversion of viruses into cancer-fighting agents by reprogramming them to attack cancerous cells, while healthy cells remain relatively undamaged. Specifically, viruses can be harnessed to infect, multiply within and subsequently lyse cancer cells; the virus targets the tumor and protects normal tissue.
Several types of oncolytic viruses have been developed to date. One of them, the reovirus, is a non-enveloped virus with a double-stranded, segmented RNA genome that forms particles that are 60 to 90 nm. The reovirus preferentially replicates in cancer cells that feature a common mutation known as an “activated Ras pathway,” while sparing normal cells. This makes it intrinsically tumor selective without the need for any genetic manipulation."
"RENO, Nev., Oct. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As the second-most diagnosed cancer in women in the U.S., breast cancer impacts the lives of many. Debbie Black, a Nevada resident, is among those whose life has been dramatically impacted by the disease.
Initially diagnosed with stage II breast cancer at the age of 30, Black underwent aggressive chemotherapy and hormonal treatment. She was cancer-free for more than a decade until she began experiencing the loss of feeling in the left side of her body.
Following tests, Black learned her cancer had come back and spread to her brain. She underwent surgery to remove the majority of the brain tumor, but due to the tumor's size and proximity to critical anatomy, a small portion had to be left behind. Additionally, it was discovered that a second smaller tumor had formed in her brain. Black's doctors suggested CyberKnife to treat both the original remaining tumor and the second tumor discovered.
"CyberKnife was the most amazing treatment I had ever experienced," said Black. "It was a piece of cake and walk in the park compared to past treatments I had undergone."
"Imagine that you have an acquaintance in Springfield, Massachusetts, a city best known as the birthplace of basketball and home of the Basketball Hall of Fame. The fourth largest city in New England, Springfield boasts 155,000 residents of various ethnicities and religious beliefs.
Now envision that over the next five years, 120,900 (78 percent) of Springfield’s citizens pass away, and only 3,100 (2 percent) survive a normal life span.
In the event of such a situation, you’d expect considerable media coverage and public outrage. But the deaths continue mostly unnoticed.
If you believe such a circumstance to be unthinkable, think again.
Including myself, an estimated 155,000 Americans — the population of Springfield, — are living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). MBC is cancer that has traveled from the breast and underarm lymph nodes to other parts of the body. Although we're in the midst of October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), you may not be aware that:
• 98 percent of people with MBC will die of it, and 78 percent will perish within five years of diagnosis.
• Average survival with MBC is three years.
• The number of women dying annually hasn’t varied since the mid-1980s when BCAM was initiated. In 1988, approximately 40,000 women perished and in 2011, 40,931 women died of MBC.
• Each year, roughly 220,097 women and 2,078 men are diagnosed with breast cancer, with no improvement in 10 years."
Susan Zager's insight:
This article really shows the true facts about metastatic breast cancer.
Today's show focuses on bringing awareness about metatastic breast cancer and an all-volunteer group committed to filling gaps in MBC research; plus hear from three women who have stage 4 breast cancer. The Balancing Act latest segments and shows. Watch us weekdays at 7AM airing on Lifetime Television Network. Topics of our show include the health and wellness of our views and to introduce new and exciting products in a fun social format.
Susan Zager's insight:
Today is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. This is a great interview with CJ Corneliussen-Jamesand Kelly Lange.
"My breast cancer went undiagnosed for eight weeks.
There is no blame to my GP at the time as I ended up with metaplastic breast cancer - and as with 0.02 per cent of women who have this deadly cancer, it presented like a cyst.
I owe my life to my breast surgeon who removed this fast-growing nightmare with deep, clear margins, however I ended up with severe nerve damage down the left side of my chest. This wonderful man even apologised but pffttt he saved my life, this pain is a small thing in comparison.
However, at times, it feels like my skin is being peeled off layer by layer. I am unable to bear even pure silk camisoles against my skin so I lie there bare-chested (in private of course!).
Chemotherapy didn't suit my body very well either, and I ended up for months enduring a mouth and throat full of abscesses. The pain was indescribable. "
Susan Zager's insight:
This article is about a Metaplastic breast cancer patient who discusses all of the incredible side effects and other things that happen as a result of the awful disease.
Epidemiologists forecast that the number of diagnosed incident cases of breast cancer in women in the 8MM is expected to grow to 1.21 million cases in 2023 at a rate of 4.23% per year during the forecast period. The number of five-year diagnosed prevalent cases in the 8MM is expected to increase by 43.0% over the next decade to 5.12 million cases in 2023.
A new final guidance document issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) outlines the processes by which the regulator will accept surrogate endpoints to support the accelerated approval of treatments intended for high-risk early-stage breast cancer.
Treatment approaches to reduce the risk of bone metastasis associated with breast cancer may be one step closer to becoming a reality. According to a study, findings show that medication used to treat bone deterioration in post-menopausal women may also slow skeletal metastasis caused from breast cancer. This study is among the first to link bisphosphonate use with improved survival in women with breast cancer.
"As breast cancer prevention and therapy improve and the number of survivors rises, more women are living with long-term effects of treatment. Women with breast cancer learned about ways to cope with therapy-related side effects at the September 27 Annual Fall Conference of Living Beyond Breast Cancer, entitled “Breast Cancer Today: Individual Treatments, Shared Experiences,” in Philadelphia.
Among the various side effects that Virginia F. Borges, MD, MMSc, of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, Denver, spoke about, fatigue was underscored as a major problem.
Dr. Borges cited the National Comprehensive Cancer Network in her definition of fatigue as “a distressing, persistent, subjective physical, emotional and/or cognitive sense of tiredness or exhaustion related to cancer or its treatment that is not proportional to recent activity and interferes with usual functioning and different from usual fatigue as it is not relieved by rest and sleep.”
One-third of survivors up to 10 years out report significant, life-altering fatigue. Fatigue is rated on a scale of mild, moderate, or severe, with moderate fatigue requiring work-up, referrals, or treatment. The clinical picture consists of both objective and subjective components, including physical weakness or tiredness, depression or negative alteration of mood, lack of motivation or initiative, cognitive impairment, and a weakened ability to sustain relationships."