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New studies on surgical options in inherited breast cancer show drastic treatment is not always best
Date:3/26/2010

Barcelona, Spain: Two studies to be presented at the seventh European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC7) in Barcelona today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday), shed light on the treatment options facing women carrying the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations which predispose them to breast cancer. In the first, Ms Annette Heemskerk-Gerritsen, a PhD student in the Department of Medical Oncology, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, will tell the conference this afternoon (Friday) that prophylactic mastectomy (where women who have been treated for breast cancer in one breast have the remaining breast tissue removed as a risk-reducing measure) does not improve disease-free or overall survival in this group of patients.

In the second, to be presented to the conference tomorrow (Saturday) Professor Lori Pierce, Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA, will report the findings of an international study of treatment outcomes after either breast conserving therapy (BCT) or mastectomy in 655 BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers. The study found more recurrences in the breast with BCT compared to recurrences at the chest wall following mastectomy, but similar rates of recurrence when BCT patients also received chemotherapy.

Women who carry a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have a risk of between 55% and 85% of developing cancer in their lifetime, and those who do develop it have to make difficult decisions about their treatment, often opting for the most radical therapy in the belief that they will have a better chance of overcoming their disease. Until now there has been little data on the longer-term effects of such treatments on these patients.

Ms Heemskerk-Gerritsen and her team looked at the efficacy of risk-reducing mastectomy (RRM) on disease-free and overall survival in 390 patients who carried the BRCA1/2 mutation and who had already had cancer in one breast. Of these, 138 patients underwent RRM, while th
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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