Thursday, September 8, 2011

Media Headlines from the 2011 Breast Cancer Symposium

Breast Cancer Symposium 2011 is underway in San Francisco this week. Today we'll share the media coverage of some of the presentations.

Medical News Today: "Young Women With Early Breast Cancer Have Similar Survival With Breast Conservation, Mastectomy"

More young women under 40 with breast cancer are choosing mastectomy over breast conserving surgery (lumpectomy), in part because of concerns about recurrence. Two presentations suggest that there is no survival difference between women treated with a mastectomy and those treated with a lumpectomy plus radiation.

US News and World Report wrote about both studies. The first, presented a few days ahead of the Symposium, evaluated medical records of 628 women aged 21 to 40. Local recurrence and survival rates were similar for women treated with mastectomy and women treated with lumpectomy.

According to Medical News Today, the second study reviewed the records of nearly 15,000 women under 40 with breast cancer. Overall survival was similar between women treated with mastectomy and those treated with lumpectomy plus radiation. When women were matched with others with similar cancer characteristics, such as tumor size and lymph node involvement, there was no difference in overall survival.

HemOnc Today: "New tool may help predict breast-cancer-associated lymphedema"

On September 8, HemOnc Today shared a Brazilian study of a model to predict lymphedema before axillary lymph node dissection. The statistical model "demonstrated more than 70% accuracy for predicting the 5-year risk for developing lymphedema after lymph node removal during breast cancer surgery."

Dr. Jose Bevilacqua, a study author, noted that the model used "readily available clinical factors," such as age, BMI and number of chemotherapy cycles, for a "quick and easy estimation of individual risks of developing lymphedema after axillary lymph node surgery in women with breast cancer." "Syndax Pharmaceutical's Positive Phase 2 Data Supports Potential for Entinostat in Advanced Breast Cancer"

On September 6, printed a press release from Syndax about a positive phase 2 study of entinostat for advanced breast cancer.

For post-menopausal women with estrogen-receptor positive metastatic breast cancer, entinostat plus Aromasin (exemestane) improved progression-free survival and overall survival compared to placebo plus Aromasin.

A phase 3 trial is planned for early 2012.

US News and World Report: "Annual Breast Exams, Mammograms Still Key to Detecting Breast Cancer"

There's more fuel in the screening mammography debate. On September 6, US News and World Report/HealthDay covered a study from Michigan which reviewed breast cancer detection and treatment records from almost 6,000 women with breast cancer.

Overall, breast cancer detected by palpitation (feel) tended to be later-stage and more likely to be treated with a mastectomy and chemotherapy compared to breast cancer detected by mammography.

For women under 50, 48% of breast cancers were detected by mammography and 46% by palpitation. Dr. Andrew Seidman, an official of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), said, "Undoubtedly, this area will continue to remain an area of controversy for some, but certainly women in this age group would be well-served to know about this data."

Not every study we add to the website and database makes media headlines. Next week, we'll highlight some new research which is under the media radar. Please stay tuned.

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