Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Survival in metastatic breast cancer patients is improving: targeted therapies have contributed

Date:
March 28, 2010
Source:
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Summary:
Survival is improving in patients with metastatic breast cancer, especially in those patients whose tumors are described as being HER2 positive, according to new research. Median survival times for five-year intervals of 557 metastatic breast cancer patients increased steadily, from 10 months for the 1985 to 1990 period, to 22 months for the 2000 to 2004 period. The researchers attribute this to the advent of targeted treatment.

Trends indicate that survival is improving in patients with metastatic breast cancer, especially in those patients whose tumours are described as being HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor-2) positive, a surgical oncologist said on March 26 at the seventh European Breast Cancer Conference.

Dr Marie Sundquist, from the Department of Surgery, County Hospital, Kalmar, Sweden, said that the median survival times for five-year intervals of 557 metastatic breast cancer patients in Kalmar, Sweden, increased steadily, from 10 months for the 1985 to 1990 period, to 22 months for the 2000 to 2004 period.

She reported the findings of a retrospective analysis of follow-up data of breast cancer patients who were diagnosed in hospitals in Kalmar County since 1985. "A strength of our work is that we have studied a consecutive population in a defined geographical area for a continuous period of 25 years," Dr Sundquist will tell the conference.

Dr Sundquist tolddelegates that for 288 patients with grade III tumours, the most aggressive type of breast cancer, the median survival time increased from 10 months for the 1985 to1990 period to 17 months for the 2000 to 2004 period. The increased use of the chemotherapy drugs called anthracyclines and taxanes led to the improved survival outcomes in this group of patients with the aggressive form of metastatic breast cancer, she said.

Some breast cancer cells have receptors, which allow certain types of hormones or proteins to attach to the cancer cell. Breast cancer hormone-receptor status can affect the individual patient's treatment options as well as overall prognosis. Analysis of the data by HER2 positive status revealed that HER2 positive patients with metastatic breast cancer had improved survival rates. Prior to the year 2000, 40 HER2 positive patients had a median survival of 14 months compared to 21 months for 40 HER2 positive patients diagnosed with breast cancer from the year 2000 onwards.

Dr Sundquist said: "There is no doubt that trastuzumab (Herceptin), which targets the HER2 gene, is the most important reason for the improved survival in this group of patients, and use of the chemotherapy drugs known as anthracyclines also contributed.

"In the group of HER2 positive patients that had the most aggressive type of breast cancer (grade III), 45% of those patients that received trastuzumab had survived more than three years and 30% more than five years," Dr Sundquist added.

"Patients whose breast tumours have spread outside of the breast and armpit areas are essentially incurable. However, some patients live even decades with a good quality of life despite an initially widespread tumour burden, while others fail to respond to any therapy. To explore and try to understand these mechanisms would make it easier to tailor the treatment for each individual patient," Dr Sundquist said.

A new era of breast cancer treatment started with the gene-targeted therapy of trastuzumab. Since then, a number of similar targeted therapies including antibodies or inhibitors of specific genes have been developed. This will open new avenues in the treatment of all metastatic breast cancers and also of primary breast cancer.

"These new targeted therapies will, at least in the beginning after their development, be very costly for healthcare systems. On the other hand they will make it possible for many women to lead almost normal lives, work and contribute to society for an increased number of years," she concluded.

The researchers intend to follow up their work by performing genetic analyses of the tumours with different responsiveness to specific treatments. "Health care systems will need to provide tools for the routine clinical assessment of a number of genes related to treatment response," she added.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation. "Survival in metastatic breast cancer patients is improving: targeted therapies have contributed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100326101108.htm>.
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation. (2010, March 28). Survival in metastatic breast cancer patients is improving: targeted therapies have contributed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100326101108.htm
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation. "Survival in metastatic breast cancer patients is improving: targeted therapies have contributed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100326101108.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins