Scientists are reporting two findings that could influence the way researchers screen for, treat and assess prognosis for women with locally advanced breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease. One finding offers a critical message regarding treatment strategy, they say.
"Women with locally advanced breast cancer and their clinicians need to be aware that a growing breast mass should not be ignored even if someone has had a recent normal mammogram," says Laura Esserman, MD, UCSF professor of surgery and radiology and director of the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center.
The findings emerged from I-SPY, a multi-center clinical trial designed to evaluate the impact of chemotherapy before surgery on patients with locally advanced breast cancer. Assessments in the trial focus on biological markers as predictors of pathological complete response and survival. Locally advanced breast cancer tumors develop in younger patients, have a worse prognosis and are large (min. 3 cm.).
The results were reported in the scientific session "Oral Abstract Session-Breast Cancer -- Local-Regional and Adjuvant Therapy (Esserman) and the Oral Abstract Session- Cancer Prevention,(Lin 4pm)" at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting on Saturday, May 30, 2009.
One study revealed that most locally advanced breast cancers are discovered in the interval between routine mammogram exams, which are conducted every one or two years. Of the women who were receiving regular screening mammograms, 83 percent had developed such so-called interval cancers.
"This finding suggests that the growth rate of locally advanced breast cancers precludes early detection by conventional screening," says the senior author of the study, Laura Esserman, MD, UCSF professor of surgery and radiology and director of the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center.
"We need to develop a better understanding of the molecular signatures o
|Contact: Jennifer O'Brien|
University of California - San Francisco