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San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, Dec. 14-17, 2006

29th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

The 29th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium took place Dec. 14-17 in San Antonio, Texas, and drew 8,150 attendees from 79 countries. The symposium showcased new and late-breaking research in the areas of experimental biology, etiology, prevention, diagnosis and therapy of breast cancer and pre-malignant breast disease, and also presented the potentially practice-changing results of recent clinical trials and studies.

"Interesting stories are emerging on lapatinib," said Dennis Slamon, M.D., director of clinical and translational research at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Massimo Cristofanilli, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues conducted a study showing that three months of daily lapatinib plus weekly paclitaxel chemotherapy produced a clinical response in 86 percent of subjects who had inflammatory breast cancer, the most lethal form of the disease.

David Cameron, M.D., of Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, U.K., and colleagues conducted a study showing that lapatinib plus capecitabine is superior to capecitabine alone in treating patients with ErbB2-positive advanced or metastatic breast cancer. "Lapatinib provides a clinically meaningful and statistically significant prolongation in median time to progression when added to capecitabine in ErbB2-positive breast cancer patients pretreated with chemotherapy and trastuzumab," the authors conclude. (Abstract).

"Another key theme is the further emergence of targeted therapy and the way it can be used for treating patients with breast cancer," said Slamon, whose research led to the development of the breast cancer drug Herceptin and its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1998.

At the symposium, Slamon presented results of the second interim efficacy and safety analysis from the CBIRG 006 Phase III breast cancer study of 3,222 women with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer. They found that Herceptin combined with taxotere-based regimens significantly improved three-year disease-free survival in women with early HER2-positive breast cancer.

Slamon and his team also found that an anthracycline-free regimen of taxotere, carboplatin and Herceptin (TCH) led to similarly significant improvements in disease-free and overall survival compared to a regimen of doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, taxotere and Herceptin (AC-TH). But the TCH group had a fivefold lower rate of cardiotoxicity compared to the AC-TH group.

"Almost everyone uses anthracyclines in the treatment of breast cancer when patients get chemotherapy with Herceptin," Slamon said.

"The only time Herceptin gives you problems is when you use it with anthracyclines and there's increasing cardiac dysfunction," Slamon said. "We showed that you can use a non-anthracycline regimen in the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer and get the same efficacy without the cardiac dysfunction. If this is correct, it could change clinical practice." (Abstract).

Two leading researchers were awarded Brinker Awards at the symposium. Evan Simpson, Ph.D., of Prince Henry's Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, won the Brinker Award for basic science. Recognized as the world leader in the field of estrogen biosynthesis, he has conducted ground-breaking research into the local production of estrogen in breast, brain and bone tissue, which has led to the development of new breast cancer drugs.

George W. Sledge, Jr., M.D., the Ballve-Lantero Professor of Oncology at the Indiana University Cancer Center in Indianapolis, won the Brinker Award for clinical research. As one of the first researchers to recognize the importance of local invasion and angiogenesis in breast cancer, he is a leading proponent of the application of anti-angiogenesis therapies. He recently led the first-ever trial of an anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.

SABCS: Low-Fat Diet May Cut Breast Cancer Recurrence

TUESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- In women who have been treated for early-stage breast cancer, a low-fat diet may help reduce the risk of relapse, according to a study published in the Dec. 20 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, as well as presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

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Editorial

SABCS: Lapatinib May Help Inflammatory Breast Cancer

TUESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Lapatinib may be a promising treatment for the 1 percent to 2 percent of breast cancer patients diagnosed each year with inflammatory breast cancer, the often lethal form of the disease, according to the results of a phase 2 trial presented this week at the 29th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

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SABCS: Diagnostic Technique Detects Small Breast Tumors

TUESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Molecular breast imaging -- a new diagnostic technique that uses dual cadmium-zinc-telluride gamma cameras -- accurately detects small breast tumors and causes less patient discomfort than conventional mammography, according to research presented this week at the 29th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

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SABCS: Mammograms Not Needed in Symptomatic Men

MONDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Mammography should not be routinely performed on men with breast symptoms such as tenderness and swelling, according to research presented this week at the 29th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

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SABCS: Many Patients Don't Adhere to Anastrozole Therapy

MONDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- During the first year of treatment for early-stage breast cancer, one in five women may not be fully adherent to adjuvant anastrozole therapy, according to research presented this week at the 29th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

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SABCS: Tamoxifen's Benefits Persist After Therapy Stops

MONDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Updated results of IBIS-I, a worldwide breast cancer prevention study, confirm that tamoxifen reduces the risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer in high-risk women by about one-third and this benefit persists for at least another several years after treatment is stopped, according to research presented this week at the 29th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

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SABCS: Aromatase Inhibitor Side Effects Common

MONDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Many breast cancer patients experience side effects from aromatase inhibitors, prompting almost one-third of them to discontinue treatment, according to the results of an Internet survey presented this week at the 29th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

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SABCS: Breast Cancer Dropped in Tandem with HRT Decline

FRIDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer incidence in the United States dramatically declined in 2003, possibly because many women stopped taking hormone replacement therapy after the 2002 Women's Health Initiative study found that it increased the risk of invasive breast cancer, according to research presented this week at the 29th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

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Physician's Briefing

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