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The Voice of People With Breast Cancer


Our Voices Blog

Updates from the 2019 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

Every year scientists, clinicians and patients from across the world gather to present and discuss the latest breast cancer research at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. We’ve gathered some highlights from 2019 conference:

  1. Preventative anastrozole helped reduce the risk of developing breast cancer
    A long-term study looking at the use of the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole found that preventative use in healthy postmenopausal women with an increased risk of developing breast cancer reduced their risk by 50%. This study found the most benefit in ER+ breast cancer as well as Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS). It also showed that the use of anastrozole had few side effects, although some patients experienced muscle aches and pains and hot flashes.
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  2. Partial-breast radiation shows similar results as whole-breast radiation after breast cancer surgery
    In a 10-year follow up study on breast radiation after breast cancer surgery results showed that radiating part of the breast (known as accelerated partial-breast irradiation or APBI) after surgery had similar rates of recurrence as women who had radiation to their whole breast after surgery. Results showed that 3.3% of patients who had APBI experienced a recurrence while 2.6% of patients who used traditional whole-breast radiation experienced a recurrence. Overall survival was also similar with 92.7% for women who had APBI and 93.3% for women with whole-breast radiation.
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  3. Triple Negative patients benefit from addition of pembrolizumab to chemotherapy
    In this phase III trial, triple negative breast cancer patients staged II or III were given either pembrolizumab or placebo in combination with chemotherapy before surgery and pembrolizumab or placebo following surgery. The findings from the KEYNOTE-522 trial found that adding pembrolizumab improved pathologic complete response (pCR) for patients with triple negative breast cancer and lymph node involvement. Updated data showed that 64.8% of participants prescribed neoadjuvant pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy had pCR while 44.1% of patients with only neoadjuvant chemotherapy had pCR.
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  4. Tucatinib offers lowered disease progression for HER2+ metastatic breast cancer patients
    Results from the HER2CLIMB trial found that adding tucatinib to trastuzumab in combination with chemotherapy for patients living with HER2+ mBC with previous treatment showed a 34% reduction in risk of death. It also saw improved overall survival by 4.5 months. The trial also evaluated progression free survival in patients with brain metastases and found PFS at 1 year was 24.9% for those treated with the addition of tucatinib.
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  5. Giving neoadjuvant ribociclib + letrozole to high risk luminal-B patients beneficial
    For 46.9% of patients with high risk luminal-B breast cancer, ribociclib in combination with letrozole given in the neoadjuvant setting (before surgery) a lower risk of recurrence was shown than with traditional neoadjuvant chemotherapy. This study also saw the conversion from luminal-B to luminal-A in 87.8% of patients and also saw less toxicity than with traditional chemotherapy. Luminal-B breast cancers are HR positive and can be either HER2 positive or negative. Tumours tend be higher in grade, larger and more aggressive than luminal-A. The CORALLEEN trial studied women with HR+, HER2- luminal-B breast cancer with a tumor size of greater than 2 cm.
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