Prof Cuzick added: "It has long been known that women with ER+ cancers have a higher late recurrence rate than those with ER-negative tumours. This work makes clear that even within ER+ cancers the level of expression is important. Further work is needed to see if genetic expression profiles are better at doing this than more conventional quantitative immunohistochemistry. We are about to start a trial called IBIS-3 of extended therapy with aromatase inhibitors in long-term survivors with ER+ breast cancer with other unfavourable characteristics, and also adding new drugs used in other conditions that show promise in preventing breast cancer recurrence a bisphosphonate (bone sparing drug) and metformin (diabetes drug). Hopefully, this biomarker work will help to pinpoint more accurately which patients need additional treatment."
Professor Giuseppe Viale, chair of EBCC-9 and Head of the Department of Pathology at the University of Milan, commented: ""Late recurrence for patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer after five years of endocrine treatment unfortunately is a sizeable risk, with devastating effects on the quality of life of affected patients. Clinical trials have already documented the possible benefit of extending endocrine therapy beyond five years in unselected populations of post-menopausal patients, but we do not have the means to identify the subgroup of patients actually benefitting from this extended treatment. These latest findings from the ATAC trial may pave the way for a better tailoring of hormone therapy beyond the first five years. Certainly, confirmatory studies are needed, and it remains to be assessed whether the same prognostic parameters may also hold for pre-menopausal patients."
|Contact: Emma Mason|
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation