Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Breast Cancer News Update: June 29

There were two dominant breast cancer stories yesterday: day 1 of the 2-day Avastin FDA hearing requested by Genentech, and new results from a Swedish study that reaffirm the value of screening mammography.

Avastin appeal hearing, Day 1
Can Genentech and activist patients convince the F.D.A. to reverse its December 2010 decision to revoke the drug’s approval for treatment of advanced breast cancer? All day yesterday I was getting minute-by-minute tweets live from the hearing. Most of the news coverage yesterday was about the passion of patients and doctors who believe they are benefiting from the anti-angiogenic drug. Genentech is on their side. But the FDA believes, based on several studies published since the provisional approval, that the drug's side effects and risk are real while the benefits are not. Day 2 is today. The story continues. Check out our Avastin page for all of yesterday's coverage by the respected news sources that we track.

Mammography: New data from a 30 year Swedish study
Breast screening recommendations issued in 2009 by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force caused an uproar among medical professionals and women in their 40s. Yesterday, new results from a large, ongoing Swedish study suggested that the benefits of screening mammography increases the longer you follow women. This includes women in their 40s. So while screening mammography has risks and benefits, particularly in this age range... and while decisions about screening should be made by women and their physicians, these results point to a larger long-term benefit in terms of reduced deaths than was earlier appreciated. There are several articles listed at the top of our screening mammography page.

As always, more tomorrow.

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