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Survival shortened when ER/PR negative breast cancer spreads to the brain
Date:12/17/2007

SAN ANTONIO − Two studies from Mayo Clinics site in Jacksonville, Fla., of women whose breast cancer spread to their brain, have found that women whose tumors do not have estrogen or progesterone receptors have the worst overall outcomes. Because of this, these patients should be treated aggressively after an initial diagnosis to help prevent such a metastasis, say the investigators, who presented their findings at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Those cancers include so-called triple negative tumors cancer that does not exhibit HER2 growth factors or estrogen (ER) or progesterone receptors (PR) as well as HER2 positive cancers that are also ER/PR negative, say Mayo investigators.

This research is the first to look at differences in brain metastases and survival by different breast cancer subtypes. In one of the studies led by Stephanie Hines, M.D., investigators found that the median survival from diagnosis to death in women with triple negative tumors with brain metastases was 26 months, compared to 49 months in women with other types of breast cancer brain metastasis.

The second study, led by Laura Vallow, M.D., looked only at HER2+ tumors that had spread to the brain, and concluded that median survival from initial diagnosis to death in patients with ER/PR- tumors was only 17.5 months, compared to 55 months for women with ER/PR+ cancer.

We need to be aware that this kind of cancer is high risk and we should do all that we can to prevent brain metastasis, says Dr. Hines. For women with triple negative breast cancer, improvements in outcome will likely come when new treatments for this type of cancer are successfully developed.

Targeted therapies are available for cancers that are ER/PR+ or HER2+ before they metastasize to the brain. Herceptin, which treats HER2+ cancer, is theorized to be too large to breach the blood-brain barrier, and patients who have triple negative or HER2+ ER/PR breast ca
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Contact: Paul Scotti
scotti.paul@mayo.edu
904-953-2299
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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