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I dated a guy in college who described the time he saw a nasty brown stain on his shower floor. When he called his mother, she explained that he would need to clean it with cleanser and a sponge. All his life he assumed that the shower cleaned itself, that the soap, water, and shampoo scoured the floor automatically.

Why would he think differently? After all, his mom took care of these things. But her caretaking came at a cost. When it was time for him to fly on his own, he didn’t know how. It reminds me of that fable about teaching a man to fish — you know the one.

I remembered that guy early into my cancer treatment. Another oncology appointment loomed around the corner, making me aware of my tenuous grip on life. I had triple-negative breast cancer, and the chances that it would come back and kill me were high. Regular scans helped my doctors and me to check my status.

During those days, when I was treading water, I found myself part of a group some people call the “worried watchful.” Much of my mental energy went toward figuring out what to teach my daughter in case I didn’t make it. That’s when I realized that she doesn’t even have chores. Was it too late to teach her to fish?

I grew up in a household of nine people, and everyone in my family had to pull our own weight just to keep things reasonably functional. No one had the luxury of not pitching in.

But Lauren is an only child. Her primary job has been to enjoy childhood and do her best at school. Just before she was born, my husband and I sold our business, moved to a rural area, and let our baby run as wild as she could. She responded more beautifully than I dared hope; she is confident, smart, curious, and kind.

It struck me, though, that sometimes, I mother her too much. Every morning, for example, I pack her lunch for school, carefully maximizing flavor and nutrition. I even add cucumbers and herbs to her water and often write cute notes on her napkin. All she has to do is grab the brown bag on her way out the door. My husband rolls his eyes and tells me it’s time for her to make her own lunches.

When her clothes get ripped, if she loses a button, or if she needs supplies for a project, I take care of it. Now I wonder if I’ve acted in her best interest. I want my child to have good habits, to know how to make a decent meal from ingredients she has on hand and to live in a clean home. I want her to be able to take good care of herself and a family.

This morning, uncharacteristically, I asked her to unload the dishwasher while I finished eating breakfast. “When did we get these plates,” she asked while she pulled them off the rack. We’ve had them all her life. She just never noticed until today, when, for the first time, she had to stack them with the others.

I’ve done her a disservice, I thought.

Cancer has taught me an important lesson in parenting. I know now that it’s more loving to encourage my family to take care of themselves, even if – at least in the short term – they can’t do it as well as I could do it for them.

And I’ve learned that I just have to let some things go. After all, a dirty shower might kill a budding romance, but it isn’t the end of the world.

***

Note: Breast Cancer News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Breast Cancer News, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to breast cancer.

The post What Cancer Taught Me About Being a Mom appeared first on Breast Cancer News.

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The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will get $20 million to create the Saverin Breast Cancer Research Fund aimed at extending the lives of metastatic breast cancer patients.

The gift from the “Saverin Family” is the largest individual gift for breast cancer research in the institute’s history. No further information was disclosed about the benefactor.

The fund will be led by Eric Winer, MD, whose research has focused on the most challenging aspects of the disease, including understanding molecular factors that may help predict treatment reactions. Winer is Dana-Farber’s senior vice president for medical affairs, chief of breast oncology at the institute’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers, and Thompson Chair in Breast Cancer Research.

His role in the fund is to support investigations related to treatment and ultimately cures for metastatic breast cancer — cancer which has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other parts of the body, such as the brain, liver, lungs, or bones.

“The Saverin Family’s foresight will allow us to tackle the unsolved challenges by building on the advances we have already forged, and to develop entirely new strategies,” Winer said in a news release. “Their exceptional generosity provides resources we need to further metastatic breast cancer research that is underway, and, more importantly, to open bold avenues of investigation.”

Specifically, the new fund will help advance research focused on resistance to hormonal therapies and targeted treatments. With the help of advisory boards consisting of specialists from Dana-Farber and other organizations, it is hoped that the fund will make marked progress over the next five years.

“This gift will make a profound difference in the lives of people living with breast cancer today and in the future, and we are incredibly grateful to the Saverin Family,” said Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, president and CEO at Dana-Farber. “Their visionary investment will make our outstanding breast cancer program that much stronger in reaching key discoveries for patients worldwide.”

According to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, more than 154,000 individuals in the United States have metastatic breast cancer.

Established in 1947, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a leading global center of cancer research and treatment.

The post $20M Gift to Dana-Farber Will Establish Fund for Metastatic Breast Cancer Research appeared first on Breast Cancer News.

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A combination of Polyphor‘s investigational therapy balixafortide (POL6326) and Eisai‘s Halaven (eribulin) may prolong the survival of women with HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer, a Phase 1 trial shows.

The findings were presented in the poster “Balixafortide (a CXCR4 antagonist) + eribulin in HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer (MBC): Survival outcomes of the phase I trial” (abstract #2606) at the recent 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Balixafortide is a potent and selective inhibitor of CXCR4, a protein receptor that controls cancer and immune cell migration, tumor growth, survival, and metastasis (cancer’s spread to other regions or organs). High levels of CXCR4 are normally associated with tumor aggressiveness and a poor prognosis.

According to Polyphor, balixafortide is the only CXCR4 inhibitor currently in development as a combination therapy for breast cancer, and the most advanced CXCR4 blocker for other types of solid tumors.

Halaven is a chemotherapy agent that prevents cancer cells from dividing and proliferating by interfering with internal components called microtubules. It is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat people who have already tried other treatments for their metastatic breast cancer.

Balixafortide plus Halaven was evaluated in the open-label, single-arm Phase 1 trial (NCT01837095) that enrolled 56 women with HER2-negative, CXCR4-positive advanced breast cancer. All had previously received up to three different chemotherapy regimens for their cancer.

Participants were divided in different groups and treated with increasing doses of balixafortide (0.5−5.5mg/kg) on days one–three and eight–10, and one of two doses of Halaven (1.4mg/m2 or 1.1mg/m2) on days two and nine, in a treatment cycle of 21 days. All continued treatment until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

The study’s primary goals included incidence of dose-limiting toxicities; the type, frequency, and severity of adverse events; the establishment of the maximum treatment dose; and pharmacokinetic properties (how a drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and eliminated from the body). Secondary endpoints included patients’ progression-free survival (PFS, the time patients lived without their disease worsening), overall survival (OS), and objective response rate (ORR, the percentage of patients who responded to treatment).

Previous trial data, published in The Lancet Oncology and presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2018 Congress, showed that the safety and tolerability profile of the combination therapy was similar to that of Halaven or balixafortide alone.

Of the 54 patients who were eligible to be assessed for effectiveness, 16 (30%) had a partial response (partial tumor eradication) to treatment.

Eisai presented additional trial findings related to survival at 2019 ASCO:

  • 50% of patients in the expanded cohort (EC) and 42.4% of the patients from the overall efficacy population (OEP) achieved 18-month survival, receiving the balixafortide-Halaven combo as a second line therapy or later;
  • 33.3% of patients from the EC group and 25% in the OEP group achieved 24-month survival, also receiving the balixafortide-Halaven combo as a second line therapy or later;
  • 40% of patients from the EC group and 32.5% in the OEP group achieved 18-month survival, receiving the balixafortide-Halaven combo as a third line therapy or later;
  • 25% of patients from the EC group and 19% in the OEP group achieved 24-month survival, also receiving the balixafortide-Halaven combo as a third line therapy or later.

Overall, survival data at both time-points were consistent with previous findings from the study.

Treatment safety was also consistent with previous data, with the most common adverse events reported including fatigue (79%), low white blood cell count (57%), infusion-related reactions (48%), constipation (46%), hair loss (46%), and nausea (45%).

“These survival rates, especially for the EC group, are higher than those reported for eribulin [Halaven] monotherapy in similar MBC [ metastatic breast cancer] populations,” the researchers wrote. “These promising results suggest the combo therapy could potentially provide a new treatment option in heavily pre-treated patients with HER2-negative MBC.”

This investigational combo therapy is currently being investigated in a pivotal, randomized Phase 3 trial (NCT03786094) in up to 384 women with HER2-negative, metastatic or locally recurrent breast cancer. The study is currently recruiting participants; more information is available here.

“We are encouraged by the results of this study for patients who received the combination of eribulin  and balixafortide as second line or later therapy for the treatment of HER-2 negative metastatic breast cancer,” David D’Adamo, MD, PhD, senior director of clinical research in Oncology at Eisai, said in a press release.

“With up to 6 percent of new breast cancer cases diagnosed as metastatic, this combination merits further investigation,” he added.

Balixafortide-Halaven as a combo therapy received Fast Track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2018 as third-line therapy for HER2-negative, metastatic breast cancer. This designations supports and helps to speed the treatment’s development and regulatory review, as well as its potential marketing approval.

The post Balixafortide-Halaven Combo Seen to Prolong Survival in Advanced Breast Cancer Patients in Phase 1 Trial appeared first on Breast Cancer News.

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Obesity in women with triple-negative breast cancer, the most aggressive kind of breast cancer, reprograms immune cells and creates a chronic inflammatory environment that promotes cancer progression and spread, a study has found.

The study, “Metabolically activated adipose tissue macrophages link obesity to triple-negative breast cancer,” was published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Obesity is one of the major risk factors for the development of breast cancer, accounting for approximately 20% of all cancer-related deaths. Besides increasing overall breast cancer mortality, obesity also seems to increase a woman’s chance of developing the most aggressive forms of breast cancer, including triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).

Previous studies have shown a strong relationship between obesity and disease progression among women with TNBC. However, the reasons why obesity predisposes these women to a poor prognosis are still unclear.

Obesity has been shown to promote chronic inflammation in fat tissues by promoting the infiltration and activation of certain immune cells.

Therefore, one hypothesis for the strong link between obesity and TNBC progression may be that these immune cells might be doing the same thing in mammary fat tissues, creating an inflammatory environment prone to tumor development.

In this study, a group of researchers from the University of Chicago set out to explore this hypothesis, using a mouse model of induced obesity and TNBC.

To this end, they fed normal female mice with a low- or high-fat diet for a period of 12 weeks, and then injected different types of TNBC malignant cells into the mammary fat pads of lean and obese animals to trigger the development of breast cancer. Tumor development was monitored in all animals for a period of nine weeks while they remained on their respective diets.

Analyses showed that obese female mice had infiltration and overactivation of macrophages — a type of immune cell responsible for removing dead cells and debris from tissues — in their mammary fat pads.

However, these macrophages produced large amounts of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a pro-inflammatory cytokine, that enhanced tumor formation and cancer cells’ stemness (their ability to remain in an undifferentiated and highly proliferative state) in obese animals. A cytokine is a molecule that mediates and regulates immune and inflammatory responses.

The investigators found the same overactivated macrophages in mammary fat tissue samples from obese women who had undergone breast reduction surgery, suggesting that obesity may in fact reprogram these immune cells in such a way that, instead of fighting cancer, they stimulate its formation.

“Our studies, in mice and humans implicate these metabolically-activated adipose [fat] tissue macrophages [in tumor formation and progression],” Lev Becker, PhD, an assistant professor in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research at the University of Chicago and author of the study, said in a news release.

The researchers found that weight loss was able to revert all obesity-induced effects on macrophages’ overactivation and TNBC tumor development in obese female mice that started being fed a low-fat diet, “highlighting the potential therapeutic value of weight loss intervention.”

Therefore, weight loss is important for the obese, the researchers said, not only as a preventive measure to minimize the risk of breast cancer, but also as a therapeutic intervention that may benefit patients even after they’ve been diagnosed.

The post Obesity Reprograms Immune Cells in Mammary Tissues to Promote Tumor Development, Study Says appeared first on Breast Cancer News.

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Puma Biotechnology is seeking to extend the use of its breast cancer medicine Nerlynx (neratinib), in combination with capecitabine, to treat women with HER2-positive breast cancer whose disease has spread to other parts of the body, and is metastatic.

In a supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Puma seeks the use of the Nerlynx-capecitabine combo for women who have failed two or more prior lines of targeted therapy.

The application is based on results from the NALA Phase 3 trial, which found that Nerlynx prolonged patients’ lives without disease worsening as compared with NovartisTykerb (lapatinib), another therapy for HER2-positive breast cancer.

“We are very pleased to announce this important regulatory milestone,” Alan H. Auerbach, CEO and president of Puma, said in a press release.

“Although the use of HER2 directed agents in the metastatic setting has positively impacted the treatment of the disease in the first and second line settings, patients with HER2 positive metastatic breast cancer who have progressed on two or more prior treatments continue to need additional treatment options. We look forward to working with the FDA during its review of this submission,” Auerbach said.

The NALA trial (NCT01808573) was a randomized, controlled study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Nerlynx plus capecitabine (brand name Xeloda, generics also available) versus Tykerb plus capecitabine as third-line therapy for women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.

The trial was conducted worldwide, enrolling 621 patients at sites in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and South America.

Participants were randomly selected to receive either Nerlynx tablets (240 mg) plus capecitabine (1500 mg/m2), or Tykerb tablets (1250 mg) plus capecitabine (2000 mg/m2). Both Nerlynx and Tykerb were taken once daily continuously, while capecitabine was given on days 1 to 14, of each 21-day cycle.

Treatment with Nerlynx prolonged the time patients lived without cancer progression compared with treatment with Tykerb. At the two-year mark, mean time without disease worsening was 8.8 months for those on Nerlynx, compared with 6.6 months for the Tykerb group.

Nerlynx also tended to extend overall survival, although this improvement was not statistically significant — 24.0 vs. 22.2 months, at four years of study.

Trial results regarding time to interventions due to brain metastases also indicated that Nerlynx showed some advantages over Tykerb. Women taking Nerlynx had a total frequency of 22.8% of brain metastases interventions at 4.5 years, compared to 29.2% for those receiving Tykerb.

In addition, Nerlynx-treated patients had more durable responses — a median of 8.54 months versus 5.55 months.

Regarding safety, treatment-related adverse events were similar between the two groups. However, fewer participants quit therapy due to one or more such events with Nerlynx (10.9%) than in the Tykerb group (14.5%).

Severe diarrhea — a common side effect of Nerlynx — was more frequent among Nerlyx-treated patients (24.4% vs. 12.5%). However, discontinuations due to diarrhea were similar in both groups (2.6% vs. 2.3%).

Nerlynx was approved by the FDA in July 2017 for use as an extended, adjuvant treatment for adult patients with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer. The treatment was designed to follow adjuvant therapy with trastuzumab (brand names Herceptin, and others). In September 2018, the medicine also was granted marketing authorization by the European Commission.

Nerlynx’s active substance neratinib, also known as PB272, is a small molecule that works as an irreversible tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), blocking the passage of signals through the epidermal growth factor receptor HER2, as well as other receptors. It is designed to inhibit HER2 — overexpressed by some breast tumors and associated with a more aggressive disease — to prevent cancer cell proliferation and induce its death.

The post Puma Applies to FDA to Extend Nerlynx’s Use to HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer appeared first on Breast Cancer News.

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The  Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP),  an arm of the  European Medicines Agency , has recommended the approval of Tecentriq (atezolizumab) in combination with the chemotherapy Abraxane (nab-paclitaxel) as a first-line treatment for some advanced triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC).

Specifically, the recommendation is for adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic cancer that cannot be removed by surgery, who have not received prior chemotherapy for their metastatic disease, and whose tumors test positive for the PD-L1 factor.

It is based on findings from the IMpassion130 Phase 3 trial (NCT02425891), where the combination reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 38% and extended survival by seven months in the PD-L1-positive population, compared with Abraxane only.

“This CHMP recommendation marks a breakthrough in the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive type of breast cancer with high unmet medical need,” Sandra Horning, Roche’s chief medical officer and head of global product development, said in a press release.

“With today’s announcement, we hope that people living with PD-L1-positive metastatic triple-negative breast cancer in Europe will soon have a new treatment option with the Tecentriq combination,” Horning added.

Tecentriq is an immune checkpoint inhibitor (developed by Genentech, a Roche subsidiary) that prevents cancer cells from evading immune surveillance. It specifically interacts with the PD-L1 protein on cancer cells, preventing it from binding to the PD-1 receptor on immune cells.

Abraxane is a standard chemotherapy agent for patients with advanced forms of breast cancer; it is also approved for those with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.

IMpassion130, a multi-center, randomized, double-blind trial, included 902 TNBC patients who had not received prior treatment for their locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer.

The trial was designed to examine if adding Tecentriq to Abraxane could improved the survival outcomes — overall survival and survival without disease worsening — in the total population and in a subset of patients with PD-L1-positive tumors. Secondary measures included objective response rates and duration of responses.

In the overall population, the combination reduced the risk of disease worsening or death by 20%, leading to a median progression-free survival of 7.2 months, compared with 5.5 months for chemotherapy alone. It also extended the median overall survival from 18.7 months to 21 months, but without reaching statistical significance.

In the PD-L1-positive population, on the other hand, both survival outcomes were significantly improved when Tecentriq was added to Abraxane. These patients lived without disease worsening for 7.5 months, compared with five months for chemotherapy, meaning that the risk of disease progression or death had been cut by 38%.

Survival was also extended from 18 months to 25 months, but because statistical significance was not reached in the overall population, these results were not formally tested.

The combo regimen’s safety profile appears to be consistent with previous data for the individual therapies. No new safety concerns have been reported.

Serious side effects were seen in 23% of participants given the combination, compared with 18% of patients receiving Abraxane alone. Severe or life-threatening side effects were seen in 49% of the combo therapy group and in 42% of the patients taking Abraxane.

The CHMP’s recommendations will now be reviewed by the European Commission, which will make the final decision about the approval for the Tecentriq combination therapy.

The post CHMP Recommends Tecentriq-Abraxane Combination to Treat Some Triple-negative Breast Cancers in Europe appeared first on Breast Cancer News.

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“It’s cancer,” my friend said. She had seen a doctor for something unrelated, but now she’s freaking out. Mostly about the money.

The tumor they found in her right breast is small, but it’s rocking her world. “I can’t afford time off work,” she said. “And I won’t be able to pay for breast reconstruction.”

The fact that my friend is more worried about money than survival in the face of a cancer diagnosis is maddening. How the hell did we get to this place? The fact that a curable diagnosis can have such a devastating impact shows how screwed up our healthcare system is.

When she told me her news, I had a vision of the hand grenade that landed on my own financial security when I got my diagnosis. All my life, I’ve been a careful saver, and in that moment, the payoff of my sacrifices evaporated.

My breast cancer diagnosis coincided with the onset of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and five years later, I’m still looking at piles of unpaid bills. The new law canceled my family’s existing insurance coverage and replaced it with a new plan. No doctors took the new plan, however, and none of the codes that receptionists typed into the computer were accepted.

What made things worse for my family is that my husband and I are self-employed. For that reason, safety nets like disability benefits and paid family leave are not available to us. At the time, we lived in a rural area. Our town, with its population of 900 people, has spectacular walnut orchards, but not a single oncologist. When we moved there, we weren’t thinking about cancer.

The most immediate blow came right after my mammogram. A nurse confirmed that my lump was cancer, but without valid insurance codes, I couldn’t see a doctor.

At night, while I slept, I dreamed of my tumor growing larger. All day, Gary and I clung to the phone, explaining our situation over and over or waiting on hold while awful music played in loops. What we weren’t doing was working — and when you’re self employed, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid.

“I’ll give you an hour,” an oncologist finally said. He was a dim light in a dark hole. “Bring $300 in cash. You’ll have to pay first before I do the exam.” I felt like I was setting up a date with a drug dealer — a nasty one.

At that appointment, Gary peeled off three bills and handed them to a receptionist who guarded the gateway to the doctor’s expertise. I remember seeing a withered plant drooping from a dirty hanging basket just behind her head and thinking that it needed water. The office hadn’t been painted since the Reagan administration, but I was happy to be there anyway, happy to cling to the sliver of hope it offered.

“The problem is that you need chemo immediately,” the doctor said in a somber tone. “Without it, you’ll be gone in three months, maybe six.”

“Dead,” he meant. By “gone,” he meant “dead.”

“You can’t get chemo without insurance. No one’s going to give it to you for free, and you won’t be able to afford it.”

The irony is that we did have insurance, and the canceled checks to prove it. When the ACA passed, a three-digit code was attached to our policy number, and those extra digits made the account invalid, but we still had to pay for it. And I’m still paying for it. As a nation, we’ve moved on, but as a family, we’re still stuck with the bills. We’re long-term collateral damage.

That year, my husband and I drove over 10,000 miles for cancer treatment. We paid enough money in bridge tolls to pave the freeway with dollar bills. For the first time in our lives, we used credit cards with abandon.

My friend is making flow charts to help guide her thinking process during this critical time in her life. She’s trying to figure out which treatment is best, which doctor to trust, and which facility to use. But mostly, she’s drawing diagrams about money. She’s trying to figure out how she’s going to endure cancer without losing her home and car.

National conversations about access to health care seldom focus on the core issue: It’s not the cost of insurance that’s killing us. It’s the bloated cost of treatment, the absurd reality that no one at a clinic can quote a price, and the fact that lawmakers espouse plans they never have to use themselves.

The good news? It looks like my friend is going to live. The bad news? She might be paying for her survival for the rest of her life.

And that’s not good enough.

***

Note: Breast Cancer News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Breast Cancer News, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to breast cancer.

The post Survival Is All About the Money appeared first on Breast Cancer News.

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Fujifilm Medical Systems USA has launched a nationwide effort to enhance access to breast cancer screening and raise awareness about the importance of early disease detection.

Called “Aspire to Be Fearless,” the 18-month, 48-state campaign features a mobile mammography bus that will travel around the country to educate local communities and offer mammograms. The screenings will target underserved populations and patients who, largely out of fear of a cancer diagnosis, have been reluctant to get screened.

A provider of diagnostic imaging products and medical informatics solutions, Fujifilm is partnering in this effort with women’s imaging providers throughout the country to offer services and information about the importance of early detection.

“Breast cancer is one of the most feared cancers among women, and some women may feel so apprehensive that they put off their breast exams,” Susan Crennan, women’s health product marketing manager at Fujifilm, said in a news release. “Through outreach and collaboration with women’s health leaders, we are hoping to empower women to be fearless in their approach to their breast health.”

The company will initially host a nationwide series of community educational events, and then start offering screening services in the fall. To kick off the campaign, Fujifilm recently supported an educational event in Portland, Oregon, which featured experts in breast care, nutrition, and health. Each speaker provided information aimed at promoting early breast cancer detection and allaying screening fears.

The “Aspire to Be Fearless” vehicle will be equipped with a waiting room, dressing room, mammography diagnostic workstation, and Fujifilm’s ASPIRE Cristalle digital mammography system, which was introduced in 2014.

Based on breast tissue density, the system uses hexagonal close pattern image capture technology and intelligent image processing to produce images less painfully and at low radiation doses for every breast type, including implants. The company this spring announced new system features involving radiology viewing, image reconstruction, and advanced compression.

One in eight women will at some point be diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Partly due to barriers in screening, African-American women are most likely to be diagnosed with later stages of breast cancer, resulting in poorer survival outcomes.

Those whose cancer is localized — hasn’t spread beyond the breast — are about 99% likely to live for at least five years after initial diagnosis. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment is the most important strategy to prevent deaths from breast cancer, says the American Cancer Society.

The post Fujifilm Bus Hits the Road to Offer Breast Cancer Screenings and Promote Early Diagnosis appeared first on Breast Cancer News.

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BiotheranosticsBreast Cancer Index can help distinguish which breast cancer patients will derive a benefit from prolonged endocrine therapy — allowing those who don’t to stop treatment and avoid its unpleasant side effects, new data suggests.

The findings were shared at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, held recently in Chicago, in a presentation titled, “Trans-aTTom: Breast Cancer Index for prediction of endocrine benefit and late distant recurrence (DR) in patients with HR+ breast cancer treated in the adjuvant tamoxifen—To offer more? (aTTom) trial.

Endocrine therapy starves tumors of the hormones, primarily estrogen, that drive cancer cell growth. For people with hormone receptor (HR)-positive breast cancer, it can be lifesaving. However, endocrine therapy also can cause a number of unpleasant side effects, including osteoporosis, joint pain, blood clots, and endometrial cancer.

This has led to a dilemma over how long endocrine therapy should be given — for five or 10 years?

The Breast Cancer Index (BCI), a test that measures gene expression in the tumor, is intended to solve this problem by identifying those patients who will benefit from the additional five years of treatment. That would allow clinicians to stop treatment — and avoid the negative side effects — in women who won’t benefit from prolonged therapy.

To validate the accuracy of BCI, researchers examined data from participants treated in the prospective aTTom Phase 3 trial (NCT00003678). That trial included 6,953 women with HR-positive breast cancer who had completed at least four years of endocrine therapy with tamoxifen, a drug that blocks the estrogen receptor. Participants were randomly selected to either stop tamoxifen treatment or to continue therapy for five more years.

At the meeting, researchers presented data from 583 patients who were node-positive, meaning some cancer cells had already spread from the breast to nearby lymph nodes.

The BCI divided these patients into two groups, termed H/I-High (287 people) and H/I-Low (296 women). The term “H/I” is derived from the particular genes measured by the BCI — HoxB13 and IL17BR.

After a median of 12 years of follow-up, researchers measured the recurrence-free interval (RFI) in both groups. RFI is the time in which there is no evidence of the cancer regrowing in the breast or elsewhere.

In the H/I-Low group, there was no significant difference in RFI between individuals treated with tamoxifen for five or 10 years. However, in the H/I-High group, there was a 10.2% benefit in RFI among those who were treated for 10 years, as compared with five years.

“Results from the Trans-aTTom study add to the growing body of evidence that BCI accurately identifies which early-stage HR+ patients are associated with better outcomes and preferential response to extended endocrine therapy,” Catherine Schnabel, PhD, the chief scientific officer of Biotheranostics, said in a press release. “Clinicians may use BCI to personalize their approach and provide validated genomic information to help patients weigh the risks and benefits of prolonging their endocrine treatment.”

The researchers said the BCI will help in individual treatment planning.

“[I]dentifying women for whom extending endocrine therapy helps reduce their risk of recurrence is important to help decrease their anxiety, increase their satisfaction and comfort with their treatment decision, and potentially enable them to comply effectively with their treatment plan,” they said.

The post Breast Cancer Index Identifies Patients Who Will Benefit From Extended Endocrine Therapy, Data Shows appeared first on Breast Cancer News.

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The European Commission (EC) has approved Pfizer‘s Talzenna (talazoparib) for the treatment of patients with advanced forms of HER2-negative breast cancer with BRCA mutations who have been treated with chemotherapy — before or after surgery, with an anthracycline and/or a taxane — or were not eligible to receive chemotherapy with these agents.

Patients with hormone receptor-positive tumors who have received or were not eligible to be treated with endocrine-based therapy may also be eligible for treatment with Talzenna.

Talzenna is an inhibitor of the poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP), an enzyme involved in DNA repair and in the control of programmed cell death. By blocking the activity of PARP, Talzenna prevents cancer cells from repairing their DNA, eventually eliminating them.

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had already approved Talzenna for the treatment of patients with inherited BRCA-mutated, HER2-negative, locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer.

The new approval was largely based on findings from the open-label, randomized EMBRACA Phase 3 trial (NCT01945775), which focused on examining the safety and effectiveness of Talzenna, compared to a chemotherapy agent of choice, in patients with BRCA-mutated, HER2-negative, locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer.

The trial’s findings showed that Talzenna extended the time patients lived without their disease worsening compared to chemotherapy agents (8.6 months versus 5.6 months, respectively), which corresponded to a 46% reduction in the risk of death or disease progression.

Data from the trial also showed that a higher percentage of patients treated with Talzenna achieved a partial or complete response (partial or complete tumor eradication), compared to those treated with chemotherapy (62.6% versus 27.2%, respectively).

With the approval from the EC, Talzenna will now join other PARP inhibitors in the market, including AstraZeneca’s Lynparza (olaparib), which has also been approved for similar indications for the treatment of breast cancer; Clovis Oncology‘s Rubraca (rucaparib), and GlaxoSmithKline‘s Zejula (niraparib). Both Rubraca and Zejula have been approved as maintenance therapies for patients with ovarian cancer and are being tested for the treatment of breast cancer in controlled trials.

The post European Commission Approves Talzenna to Treat Some Breast Cancers appeared first on Breast Cancer News.

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