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Summary of San Antonio Highlights

Posted 12/21/2013

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  As you know, the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium has ended, and there has been time for the reports and results to be widely distributed, read, and considered. As usual, there was not a fantastic study discussed this year, but there surely were some important steps forward. Progress is painfully slow, but each study builds on previous knowledge, and, little by little, we move ahead.

  Whenever thinking about this, I am moved to remember all the women (and mean) who have agreed to participate in clinical trials. Without them, we would know much, much less than we do. If you have an opportunity to be part of a trial, please do consider it.

  This is the summary from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. If you would prefer to read others, there are similar reports at and LBBC and other large breast cancer groups. Here is the start of this one and then a link to read more:

Highlights of the 28th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS)

Oncologists and scientists from over 80 countries gathered in San Antonio, Texas, December 8-11, 2005, for the 28th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium to learn how the latest scientific findings in breast cancer will apply to clinical practice and direct future breast cancer research.

Clearly, the theme that repeated itself at this conference was that the future of breast cancer treatment, risk determination and screening guidelines will become more individualized and will focus more on the biology of the individual tumor. The keynote speaker, Martine Piccart-Gebhart, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Oncology, University Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium, acknowledged that knowing whether a patient is ER-positive or ER-negative is now the primary consideration in determining a treatment plan.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has just released new cancer treatment guidelines that include, among others, the recommendation to consider the HER-2 and hormone receptor status first when making adjuvant treatment decisions in breast cancer. There are two types of adjuvant therapy: chemotherapy and hormone therapy.

According to the new guidelines, consideration of the status of the nodes and the tumor size are secondary in the treatment planning process. Trastuzumab (Herceptin ®) has been added as therapy for HER-2/neu-positive breast cancers. New drugs added to the guidelines for metastatic breast cancer include albumin-bound paclitaxel (Abraxane®, an albumin-bound nanoparticle), paclitaxel (Taxol) and bevacizumab (Avastin®, an anti-angiogenesis drug that prevents the formation of blood vessels to the tumor, keeping it from growing).

The new treatment guidelines are available at The goal is to spare patients unnecessary and ineffective therapy if this additional information is used in the treatment decision process.


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