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What should be the goal of treatment in metastatic breast cancer?
Date:3/24/2010

This release is available in Spanish.

Barcelona, Spain: Many patients with metastatic breast cancer believe that the primary goal in survival with new treatment should be to prolong life by at least a year over the survival they might expect from using current best therapies, a researcher will tell the seventh European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC7) in Barcelona today (Wednesday). This finding contrasts with doctors' perception that an additional four to six months' survival is significant enough to consider a new treatment worthwhile.

Dr. Amir Sheik-Yousouf, a resident physician in the Department of Internal Medicine at University of Toronto, Canada, working under the supervision of Dr. Sunil Verma, Chair of Breast Medical Oncology at Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre, Toronto, set out to look at what patients and doctors thought were the most important endpoints in incurable metastatic breast cancer, and what degree of benefit from their treatment should be considered to be important. The researchers say that, to their knowledge, this is the first time that the views of these two groups on such a question have been studied.

"We found that patients and doctors held very different views," says Dr. Sheik-Yousouf. "Our research shows that it is essential to have a thorough discussion of treatment goals with patients they expect a lot from the new therapies that are being developed but need also to understand that many of them are associated with only marginal improvements in survival."

The researchers surveyed 28 breast oncologists and 52 patients with metastatic breast cancer. Among the doctors, 52% believed that overall survival was the most important endpoint to be considered when choosing a treatment, and 48% believed that the most important outcome would be progression-free survival; 48% thought that that the minimum meaningfu
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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