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Researchers advocate for more education and attention regarding rare breast cancer
Date:10/19/2010

sts have often considered IBC a type of locally advanced breast cancer, the reality is that IBC is a distinct disease. "A typical advanced breast cancer has a mass or nodule that grows over months or years, and eventually involves most of the breast and could show also with some redness," Cristofanilli says. "With IBC, you have a tumor that becomes clinically evident in just a few weeks sometimes women describe it as just a few days. The breast is red and inflamed, but there is no fever; within a few days, the cancer is already in the lymph nodes and there is no palpable mass. So if you picture these two situations, you clearly see there is no resemblance."

The difference in presentation and symptoms suggests that IBC has a distinct underlying biology, relative to locally-advanced breast cancer. And many years of research have shown that IBC does not respond to therapies used to treat other forms of breast cancer.

New and more effective therapies are in the works though, according to Cristofanilli and first author Fredika Robertson, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Basic science researchers, such as Robertson, are pinpointing molecular pathways that drive the formation and growth of IBC, and new agents targeted against those pathways are in development.

For example, on-going clinical trials are testing lapatinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that blocks two signaling pathways that are frequently hyperactive in IBC. "Lapatinib is one of the few drugs that shows activity as a single drug in IBC, but this is still an evolution," Cristofanilli says. "The paper addresses some of the areas where we expect to see novel agents come and the direction we will go in the next few years."

"I think the future is bright if we are all able to come together and recognize that there is a need to put resources and research into this disease," he says. "And many r
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Contact: Diana Quattrone
Diana.Quattrone@fccc.edu
215-728-7784
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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