Monday, June 6, 2011

The Breast Cancer News Update: June 6

This weekend, there were several interesting breast cancer research developments from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago.

Aromasin for breast cancer prevention

Perhaps the biggest news from ASCO this weekend was the study which found that Aromasin (exemestane) reduces the risk of breast cancer for post-menopausal women without the potentially lethal side effects of tamoxifen or Evista (raloxifene). The Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Reuters and others covered the story. (I even saw coverage on my local TV news station this morning.) In the study, hot flashes, fatigue, insomnia and bone stiffness were slightly more common among women on Aromasin. Pfizer's patent on Aromasin expired on April 1, which is expected to reduce the cost of treatment.

Zometa plus hormone therapy reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence

Austrian researchers discovered that, for premenopausal women with early-stage, hormone receptor positive breast cancer, adding the osteoporosis drug Zometa (zoledronic acid) to tamoxifen or Arimidex (anastrazole) reduces risk of recurrence more than taking tamoxifen or Arimidex alone. The joint pain, bone pain and fever side-effects were relatively mild.

Axillary radiotherapy reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence

For women with early-stage breast cancer with one to three positive lymph nodes, a Canadian study found that radiation therapy to the breast and axillary lymph nodes reduced the risk of distant recurrence more than radiation to the breast alone. The Globe and Mail and Medical News Today covered the story. Side effects included lymphedema and lung inflammation.

NKTR-102 shows clinical benefit as a second or third-line for metastatic patients

Positive results from a phase II trial reveal a clinical benefit for NKTR-102 as second or third-line therapy for metastatic patients. Neuropathy and alopecia were minimal. Phase III studies are planned.

Flaxseed is not effective against hot flashes

Finally, not all news from ASCO this weekend was good. According to a Mayo Clinic study, flaxseed is not an effective remedy for hormone therapy related hot flashes.

At, we'll continue to follow breast cancer news developments daily. As always, we welcome feedback and comments.

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