Breast Cancer: December 2006 Archives

Tykerb Helps Late-Stage Breast Cancer

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XelodaDec. 27, 2006 -- A combination of breast cancer drugs -- Tykerb and Xeloda -- slows metastatic breast cancer after Herceptin finally fails.

However, the combination treatment did not extend patients' lives in an international clinical trial.

In the trial, Charles E. Geyer, MD, of Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, and colleagues studied 324 women with metastatic breast cancer, meaning their cancer had spread to other organs.

Nearly all had been treated with Herceptin for a median of 42-44 weeks.

herceptinMedical News Today - Compelling new data confirming the survival benefits of Herceptin(REG) (trastuzumab) in early and advanced HER2-positive breast cancer were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS).

Efficacy in Early Breast Cancer

BCIRG 006

Updated results of the BCIRG 006 study[i] showed that adding Herceptin to either of two adjuvant chemotherapy regimens reduced the risk of death by 34 to 41% compared with chemotherapy alone. Furthermore, the addition of Herceptin significantly reduced the risk of cancer coming back by 33-39%. These remarkable data confirm the survival benefit provided by Herceptin to women with HER2-positive early breast cancer, as previously seen in three other large adjuvant Herceptin studies[ii], [iii].

Hormones and Cancer: Assessing the Risks

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breast cancerBy GINA KOLATA, The New York Times

When researchers reported recently that a precipitous drop in breast cancer rates might be explained by a corresponding decrease in the use of hormones for menopause, women reacted with shock, anger and, in some cases, profound relief that they had never taken the drugs.

But many also had questions. How certain were scientists that the hormones were responsible? How could stopping hormones have such an immediate and pronounced effect? And how much did scientists really know about the biology of breast cancer and hormones?

The data seemed clear enough. In 2003, after climbing for almost seven decades, the breast cancer rate fell for the first time in the United States, and it fell sharply. Over all, the incidence of newly diagnosed breast cancer dropped 7 percent, and it dropped 15 percent among women with cancers whose growth is fueled by estrogen.

Hyperthermia therapy: heat that kills cancer cells

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breast cancerHyperthermia therapy with radiation have been added to the 2007 National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Breast Cancer as an approved treatment for recurrent breast cancer and other localized cancer recurrences.

According to an explanation by the BSD Medical Treat with Heat website, hyperthermia therapy uses heat, which has been shown to kill cancer cells, in the treatment of cancerous tumors. Hyperthermia therapy also appears to make radiation therapy more effective. "While it has been known for hundreds of years that fevers can kill cancer, only recently has technology been developed that can control and focus heat specifically on tumors. This technology is found in the BSD-500 Hyperthermia System."

breast cancerAccording to results presented at the 2006 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), updated results continue to demonstrate better efficacy with dose-dense chemotherapy than with conventional chemotherapy in early breast cancer.

Dose-dense chemotherapy (chemotherapy with a shortened interval between doses), has demonstrated improvement in outcomes compared to conventional chemotherapy in patients with high-risk, early breast cancer. Due to concerns about side effects, however, studies continue to evaluate the long-term effects of dose-dense therapy.

To compare dose-dense chemotherapy to conventional chemotherapy in patients with high-risk early breast cancer, researchers in Germany conducted a Phase III clinical trial.

Sex and Pregnancy in Cancer SurvivorsChris Knutson, ANP, MN

"Survivorship medicine" is becoming a more frequent challenge for practitioners of all specialties. Women cancer survivors who make their way back into "routine" care following cancer treatment have questions and concerns that could hardly be considered routine. Some will ultimately be cured. Some will deal with cancer's chronicity. All of them find their lives forever changed by cancer.

Michael Krychman, MD, Co-Director of the Sexual Medicine Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, recently spoke of the reproductive and sexual concerns of women with cancer. He reminds his patients that "you may survive this illness but your life will never, ever be the same." Helping patients come to grips with that concept and making accommodations to enhance or preserve sexual functioning and fertility are increasingly frequent and critical components of cancer care.

Test Predicts Breast Cancer Recurrence

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aromatase inhibitorsA test that characterizes each breast tumor by its unique genetic fingerprint may soon allow doctors to identify those women whose cancer is most likely to recur despite tamoxifen therapy, Dutch researchers report.

The powerful genetic tool can help spare many women from unnecessary treatment that is doomed to fail, says researcher Marleen Kok, M.D., of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam.

The test, which looks for the presence of 81 genes involved in tamoxifen response, was described at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS).

Currently, doctors rely on tests that detect levels of hormone receptors to decide if a woman should get the hormone drug tamoxifen. That's because the drug tends to benefit women whose cancers are fueled by hormones. "But those tests don't tell us the whole story," says SABCS Co-director C. Kent Osborne, M.D., head of the cancer center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

SABCS: Tamoxifen Prevents Breast Cancer -- Eventually

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tamoxifenSAN ANTONIO, Dec. 18 -- Tamoxifen has a "true preventive effect" on breast cancer in women with a strong family history of the disease -- but it may take several years of treatment before the benefit is seen.

The finding emerged in the second decade of the long-running Royal Marsden cancer prevention study, according to Trevor Powles, Ph.D., of the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. 

Two decades after the randomized, placebo-controlled trial started, women in the tamoxifen arm, with a median follow-up of 13 years, have a significantly lower rate of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer than those getting placebo, Dr. Powles told the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium here. 

New breast cancer trial gives hope

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breast cancerWOMEN with aggressive breast cancer stand to benefit from new treatment regimens after trials showed improved survival if new drugs were added in combination with older ones.

Tumours that test positive to high levels of the protein HER2 - about a quarter of breast cancers - have a poorer prognosis.

But results presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Conference in Texas show survival is doubled in women who take the drug Herceptin along with standard chemotherapy, at least four years after the start of their treatment.

Breast cancer treatments evaluated

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breast cancerTORONTO -- Common breast cancer chemotherapy regimes are inferior at preventing the disease from coming back, Canadian researchers have discovered.

Widely-used breast cancer chemotherapy treatment known as AC/T is not as effective at preventing a recurrence of the disease as another commonly-used treatment regime called CEF.

Researchers also found that AC/T was less effective at preventing breast cancer from recurring than a new experimental treatment regime called EC/T.

Golden Boob Awards: the winners as the biggest boobs

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Golden Boob AwardBecause no one likes a group who misrepresents the truth to promote a private agenda, The National Breast Cancer Coalition, NBCC, announced they were hosting the first annual Golden Boob Awards to expose the biggest boobs in the fight to stop breast cancer.

The nominees in this year's Golden Boob Awards were the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer (ABC) for threatening the integrity of serious efforts to find ways to prevent, treat, cure, and ultimately end breast cancer; and Mark For Life for trying to make money from a product with no impact in the fight against breast cancer.

New breast cancer scanner approved

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breast cancerA promising new breast scanning technology with none of the radiation dangers associated with mammograms has been approved for sale by Health Canada.

Known as SoftScan, the device uses infrared lasers to detect and monitor malignancies, even in dense breast tissue that mammography can fail to penetrate.

The new machine will not replace mammograms, which will continue to be the standard tool for pinpointing breast cancers for the foreseeable future, said Dr. Nathalie Duchesne, a professor of radiology at Quebec City's Laval University.

Breast cancer may be sexually transmitted

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HPV virusBreast cancer could be sexually transmitted, says a researcher who has found the same virus that causes cervical cancer in breast cancer tumours from Australian women.

Emeritus Professor James Lawson of the University of New South Wales and colleagues have found the same form of the human papillomavirus (HPV) associated with cervical cancer in almost half the breast tumour samples they tested.

It's the first study of its kind in Australia, although international studies have also found cervical cancer-related HPV in breast cancer cells.

Second Opinion May Aid Breast Cancer Treatment

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breast cancerA second opinion from a team of specialists after an initial diagnosis of breast cancer resulted in a significant change in the recommended surgical treatment in more than half of cases, a new study has found.

Disagreement involved everything from the interpretation of mammograms to the necessity for mastectomy, and 6 of the 149 women in the one-year study were found on second consideration to have no breast cancer at all. The report was published in the Nov. 15 issue of the journal Cancer.

All of the women had been referred by their doctors to a specialized cancer center for a second opinion, and all arrived with biopsy slides, X-rays and a surgeon’s recommendation for treatment.

breast cancerA new ultrasound technique is so good at helping a doctor determine whether a patient has breast cancer that it may eventually replace biopsies altogether, say researchers from Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, USA. The new research was presented at the Radiological Society of North America annual meeting, by Dr. Richard Barr, professor of radiology.

The ultrasound technique is called elastography or real-time, free hand elasticity imaging. In an experiment involving 59 patients, they found this technique helped researchers distinguish harmless lumps from harmful (malignant) ones in 100% of cases - in other words, the technique appears to be 100% accurate. The technique correctly identified 16 out of 16 cancerous tumors and 56 out of 56 benign ones.

New Breast Cancer Treatment Gives Women More Hope

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By Marsha Hitchcock, Ivanhoe Health Correspondent

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A new approach to treating breast cancer gives patients an alternative that cuts radiation treatments down from six weeks to five days.

This new minimally invasive approach, called partial breast irradiation therapy with brachytherapy, targets the tumor with precision and gives women with breast cancer more time to make decisions about their care.

"This new therapy gives hope to the some 212,000 women who we anticipate will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year," said Ellen Mendelson, M.D., Section Chief of Breast Imaging and a professor of radiology at Northwestern University in Chicago. "What we are looking at is a new way at administering the radiation part of it," she told Ivanhoe.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Breast Cancer category from December 2006.

Breast Cancer: November 2006 is the previous archive.

Breast Cancer: January 2007 is the next archive.

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