Friday, June 3, 2011

The Breast Cancer News Update: June 3

Today in breast cancer news, there are developments in imaging, prognostic testing and radiation therapy. Many of today's developments will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting this week.

Breast cancer imaging: screening, risk and impact on surgical decisions

The FDA considers mammography to be the most effective breast cancer screening method. According to a press release in PR Newswire, women should not substitute breast thermography for mammography for breast cancer screening. The FDA is "unaware of any valid scientific evidence" supporting thermography alone as a breast cancer screening method.

In addition to breast cancer detection, breast cancer risk may be assesed at a screening mammogram. According to a UCSF study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, measurements of the volume of breast density at mammogram predict breast cancer risk more accurately than current risk models.

According to a study in the Journal of Surgical Oncology, the routine use of diagnostic MRI increases mastectomy rates. MRI is more sensitive to multifocal disease than mammography. MRI detection of multifocal disease is "highly correlated with pathology results," and appears to "justify the performance of mastectomies" in those circumstances.

Breast cancer prognostic testing: C-reactive protein, PAM50 and taxane response

A study in Denmark discovered that women who have high levels of C-reactive protein at diagnosis may have worse outcomes. However, researchers cautioned that their findings may be limited to the Danish population tested and that other known markers were not included in the study.

According to a Business Wire press release, several papers on the utility of the PAM50 assay will be presened at ASCO this week. The PAM50 test provides a subtype classification and prognostic score based on breast tumor biology.

Also, positive study results of a test to predict a patient's response to taxane therapy will be presented. The latest results corroborate an earlier study published in the May 11 issue of JAMA.

Breast cancer radiation: trends for women over 70 and therapy for liver metastases

Presentations on radiation therapy will also be made at ASCO this week.

Researchers Thomas Jefferson University will present data on radiation therapy use by women over 70 with stage I cancer. More women are choosing brachytherapy radioactive implants, such as MammoSite, Contura or Savi, and more women with estrogen positive tumors are opting out of radiation therapy. Researchers also discovered that women with estrogen negative tumors were 91 percent more likely to die from breast cancer if they did not receive radiation after lumpectomy, and that "radiation is currently being underutilized in these women."

For metastatic patients, an Italian study which concluded that SIR-Spheres radioactive microspheres for breast cancer liver metastases were "effective and well-tolerated" will also be presented.

Please check back on Monday for highlights of the weekend breast cancer news. Until then, all of the latest news and research on breast cancer tests and treatment options can be found on the website.

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