Studies Advance Early Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of Breast Cancer

For Immediate Release
October 6, 2009
Contact: 

Aaron Tallent
571-483-1371
aaron.tallent@asco.org

SAN FRANCISCO – New studies on the early detection, evaluation and treatment of breast cancer were released today in advance of the 2009 Breast Cancer Symposium. The symposium is being held October 8-10, 2009, at the San Francisco Marriott.

Four major studies were highlighted today in a presscast (press briefing via live webcast):

  • Majority of breast cancer deaths occur among women who don’t receive regular mammography: A large, retrospective study shows that nearly three-quarters of breast cancer deaths occur among the minority of women who do not undergo regular screening mammograms.
  • Women under age 44 with DCIS have a higher risk of recurrence: A study reports that women with ductal carcinoma in situ (a pre-invasive form of breast cancer) age 44 and younger have almost double the risk of recurrence following breast conservation surgery and radiation therapy than women age 45 to 50, suggesting that more aggressive treatment should be studied in this population.
  • Adding low-cost ultrasound prior to surgery can reduce need for second breast cancer surgery: An analysis demonstrates that the addition of axillary ultrasound prior to initial breast-conserving surgery spared nearly one-third of women with early-stage breast cancer who had underarm (axillary) lymph node metastases from a second breast cancer surgery to remove additional axillary nodes.
  • New technique identifies breast cancer subtypes and predicts response to adjuvant paclitaxel (Taxol) chemotherapy: A study validates a novel method of tissue analysis, called tissue microarrays, for determining the “intrinsic subtype” of a breast tumor, and accurately uses breast cancer sub-typing to predict response to a specific anticancer drug. These findings will improve physicians’ ability to personalize treatment to maximize benefits and spare patients from unnecessary side effects.

“The studies presented today remind us that mammography is one of the most powerful tools we have for improving breast cancer survival rates,” said Lori Pierce, MD, professor of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, who moderated the presscast. “They will also allow physicians to better tailor therapy, make treatment more tolerable and effective, and improve outcomes for patients.”

Breast cancer is diagnosed in approximately 194,000 people in the United States every year. This year’s symposium will focus on a range of issues in breast cancer, including advances in targeted therapies, translational science, new diagnostic technology, and management of high-risk patients.

The third annual Breast Cancer Symposium is co-sponsored by the American Society of Breast Disease, The American Society of Breast Surgeons, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, the National Consortium of Breast Centers and The Society of Surgical Oncology. Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and advocates, is the primary supporter of the symposium.

Relevant Links on ASCO’s Cancer.Net:

To view the full release, click here.