Monday, July 25, 2011

The Breast Cancer News Update: July 25

Today in breast cancer research news, we'll look at recent studies on Herceptin plus chemotherapy and Ellence plus Taxotere for early breast cancer, the Doxil shortage, and a study on the risk of recurrence after a trauma or surgery. Links to the study abstracts may be found on the treatment pages of the website.

Herceptin benefits confirmed in long-term follow-up

In 2006, Herceptin (trastuzumab) received FDA approval in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of early, HER2 positive breast cancer based on two large trials - the North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG) and National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP). This week, a Journal of Clinical Oncology study published four-year follow-up data which confirmed the benefit of Herceptin. Consistent disease-free survival and overall survival advantages were observed during "the longest follow-up reported to date." "The clinical benefits continue to outweigh the risks of adverse effects."

Ellence followed by Taxotere is better than Ellence alone

Chemotherapy drugs may be given alone or in combination with other chemotherapy drugs. This week, a "relatively small" phase III trial in the Journal of Clinical Oncology compared survival, toxicity and quality of life of six cycles of Ellence (epirubicin) alone to three cylces of Ellence followed by three cycles of Taxotere (docetaxel) for women with postmenopausal, node-positive, early breast cancer. Both disease-free survival and five-year survival rates were better in the Ellence plus Taxotere arm. Ellence plus Taxotere was associated with "greater toxicity," but there was no difference in quality of life during follow-up. published a detailed video on this study for medical professionals. A link to the video may be found under the news tab on the Taxotere page of the website.

Chemotherapy drug Doxil is in short supply

Doxil (PLD), a chemotherapy approved for ovarian cancer, is in clinical trial or used off-label for breast cancer. It's a formulation of Adriamycin (doxorubicin) believed to reduce its cardiotoxicity, or heart-related side effects. According to Reuters, Johnson & Johnson has announced a Doxil shortage and advised doctors not to start new patients on Doxil. New supplies will not be shipped until late August.

Trauma or surgery after breast cancer not associated with increased risk of recurrence

According to a recent Annals of Oncology study, "Several lines of evidence suggest that cytokines released as a result of wound healing might reactivate dormant breast cancer metastases." To test this, British researchers examined recurrence rates 2 to 24 months after a non-cancer related trauma or surgery. They concluded that "[t]rauma was not associated with an increased rate of breast cancer recurrence in the 24-month window after the event in this large study." (Emphasis added.)

Please check back tomorrow for more breast cancer research news updates. Until then, all the latest news and research on any breast cancer test or treatment option may be found on our website anytime.

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