I had the great opportunity to attend and participate in the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) last week. SABCS is an annual, international meeting where breast cancer experts from around the world (academic researchers, private researchers, and physicians from over 90 countries) meet for a five day educational program to review the advancements of breast cancer. I had the honor to present two abstracts this year as poster presentations. The first is entitled “Higher incidence of second cancers in African American (AA) patients compared to Caucasian patients with a primary breast cancer” and the second is entitled “The performance of next generation panel testing in individuals assessed by a community-based genetics program.”
The opinion expressed in this writing is my own interpretation of the data presented:
A very exciting day at San Antonio, not because of the blue skies and the pleasant temperature, but because of some new exciting data on the treatment of breast cancer. The early theme from this morning is related to immunotherapy and its potential in the treatment of advanced breast cancer.
Two studies have shown that patients with triple-negative breast cancer (meaning estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2 negative) have better outcome if the tumor has infiltration with T- cell lymphocytes and indication that the immune system is trying to mount a defense against the tumor.
A new investigational drug that remove the breaks placed on the immune system by breast cancer (PD1 inhibitor) called avelumab has preliminary but encouraging activity in women with advanced breast cancer. Especially in triple-negative breast cancer.
Another interesting study confirmed that some women with breast cancer might not benefit from the addition of chemotherapy. Women with so called Luminal A type of breast cancer (that is women with estrogen and progesterone positive disease and with low proliferation) will derive limited if any benefit from the use of chemotherapy as an adjuvant treatment after surgery.