Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Watch TNBC Special on the Discovery Channel

If you missed the Discovery Channel's special on TNBC that aired last week, you can watch a video here. This is Part 1; once you finish it, you will be directed to three other parts. Or, if you have the necessary software (iTunes will do), check out the podcast here. The 60-minute show will air again Saturday, October 30 and Saturday November 6, at 8 a.m.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Correcting Information About TNBC

I have seen two news stories in the past three days that misrepresent triple-negative breast cancer. One said TNBC does not respond to chemotherapy; the other said that most women die of TNBC within two years. Both are wrong.

Here's what research tells us:

1. The majority of women with triple-negative survive.

2. Risk of death significantly drops three years after diagnosis.

3. Chemotherapy is successful in reducing TNBC tumors and their risk of recurrence.

According to research at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto on 1,601 patients with breast cancer diagnosed between 1987 and 1997, published in 2007:

• The majority of the TNBC women­—57.8 percent—were alive after ten years

• The risk of recurrence significantly dropped after three years

• No recurrences occurred after eight years.

Eric Weiner, M.D., and Erica Mayers, M.D., M.P.H., of Dana Farber say this about chemotherapy and TNBC:

Triple-negative tumors do not respond to endocrine agents or trastuzumab and can only be treated with chemotherapy. Fortunately, increasing evidence suggests that the triple-negative subgroup derives substantial and preferential benefit from chemotherapy. Read more here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

NOS2 Connected to Worse Outcome for ER-

FROM A NEWS RELEASE FROM THE NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE: Breast cancers can be divided into different subtypes based on several criteria, including whether or not they express the protein to which the female hormone estrogen binds; that is, the estrogen receptor (ER). Patients with ER-negative breast tumors have a worse outlook than those with ER-positive breast tumors. However, even among ER-negative breast tumors, those characterized as basal-like are the most aggressive and difficult to treat. New therapeutic targets for this subtype of breast cancer are urgently needed. Now, a team of researchers, led by Stefan Ambs, at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, report data that suggest that the protein NOS2 could be a good drug target in this context. The data, generated by analysis of human breast cancer samples and cell lines, lead the authors to conclude that high levels of NOS2 are a predictor of survival in patients with ER-negative breast tumors and to suggest that selective NOS2 inhibitors might be of benefit to these individuals. Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Vegetables Reduce ER- Risk Among African-American Women

African-American women who eat their veggies have a reduced risk of estrogen-negative breast cancer, according to a new study from Boston University. This is good news because estrogen-negative—especially triple-negative‚ disproportionately affects African-American women, who also face higher fatality rates from the disease than white women. Researchers from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University School of Medicine studied 51,928 women for 12 years who participated in the Black Women’s Health Study. Among the women, all of whom were African-American, Hormone receptor cancer (ER-/PR-) cases were 43 percent lower for those women who ate at least two vegetables a day compared to those who ate fewer than four a week. (Really? Fewer than four veggies a week? OK, never mind. I used to eat like that.)

Researchers said cruciferous veggies—cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, mustard greens—were especially beneficial, as were carrots.

The study used the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance and Epidemiology End Results (SEER) data. It was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, published online October 11, 2010.

As I write this, I am drinking the fresh vegetable juice my dear hubby makes me every night—it contains carrots, kale, and cabbage, plus apples and lemon for taste. Such an easy way to get the goodies, especially cruciferous vegetables.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Three new treatments for metastatic TNBC studied

News from the 35th annual ESMO (European Society of Medical Oncology) Congress in Milan:

• Adding the PARP inhibitor iniparib to chemotherapy added five months to overall survival of patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. What’s even better is that complete or partial response or stable disease was achieved in 55.7 percent of the women, compared with chemotherapy alone. (Complete response: the disease has completely disappeared—no disease is evident on examination, scans or other tests; Partial response: some disease remains in the body, but it has decreased by 30 percent or more in size or number of lesions. Stable disease: the disease has remained unchanged in size and number of lesions.A less than 50 percent decrease or a slight increase in size is generally considered stable disease.) Two phase III studies on iniparib and triple-negative are ongoing. The study was presented by John Pippen, MD, of Texas Oncology, Dallas.

• Adding cetuximab to cisplatin chemotherapy doubled the response rate in women with metastatic triple-negative. Cetuximab targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). The results come from a phase II randomized trial of 173 women and included researchers from Spain, Belgium, Austria, Portugal, the UK and Israel. Cetuximab is marketed by Merck under the brand name Erbitux. Merck tried last year to market the drug for lung cancer but failed to win approval.

Eribulin, a microtubule inhibitor, improved outcomes of all metastatic breast cancer patients, but was most effective against hormone-negative. Estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor negative patients receiving eribulin rather than the physician’s standard choice of chemotherapy had a 34 percent decreased risk of death. The results were part of the EMBRACE (Eisai Metastatic Breast Cancer Study Assessing Physician's Choice versus Eribulin E7389) study, a phase III clinical trial.