Saturday, November 14, 2009

Disease-free Survival Higher Than 90 Percent for Early-Stage Cancers


Research published online November 2 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology  provides additional data on survival rates of women with TNBC or other forms of hormone-negative with early-stage disease—small tumors that have not spread to the lymph nodes.

The research focused on Her2-positive disease (I recently posted about another recent study on Her2-Positive), but I found the information on survival rates for TNBC and other forms of hormone-negative to be encouraging.

The researchers found the following for women with tumors smaller than 1 centimeter that had not spread to the lymph nodes:

92 percent five-year disease-free survival rate for patients with triple-negative breast cancer (ER-negative, PR-negative, and Her2-negative).

• 91 percent  five-year disease-free survival rate for patients with hormone-receptor negative (ER-negative or PR-Negative), but Her2 positive.

99 percent  five-year disease-free survival rate  for patients with hormone-receptor positive and Her2-negative. WHoaaaaa!!!!

• 92 percent  five-year disease-free survival rate  for patients with hormone-receptor positive and Her-2 positive.

The research was conducted by doctors at the Istituto Europeo di Oncologia in Milan. Researchers reviewed 2,130 women who had been treated between 1999 and 2006 for early-stage cancer. Of these, seven percent (150) were Her2-positive.

All in all, great stats, no matter what, but significantly different from the stats on research at the M.D. Anderson Clinic that showed an 86.4 percent five-year disease-free survival for women with Her2-negative. Likewise, as I blogged recently, studies in China showed a 73. 8 percent 5-year disease free survival rate for triple-negative, way below the 92 percent here.

Why the difference? This study was done on Italian women; the M.D. Anderson studied women treated in the United States and the Chinese study looked at, of course, Chinese women, so there are no doubt other important variables, like diet, exercise, or genetics. Again, this is not one disease--each woman is different.

In the recent Her2 studies, however, Her2-positive status did affect survival rates, regardless of hormone-receptor status. Women with Her2-positive can improve their odds with Herceptin (trastuzumab) and researchers in both studies say the drug should be considered even for women with early-stage disease.

If you must get breast cancer, your best bet is ER+, PR+ and Her2-. A better bet, of course, is to avoid it.

Source: Curigliano, Giuseppe, Viale, Giuseppe, Bagnardi, Vincenzo, Fumagalli, Luca, Locatelli, Marzia, Rotmensz, Nicole, Ghisini, Raffaella, Colleoni, Marco, Munzone, Elisabetta, Veronesi, Paolo, Zurrida, Stefano, Nole, Franco, Goldhirsch, Aron. “Clinical Relevance of HER2 Overexpression/Amplification in Patients With Small Tumor Size and Node-Negative Breast Cancer.” Journal of Clinical Oncology. Early Release, published online ahead of print Nov 2, 2009.

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