BCS: New Research Highlights Breast Cancer Advances

-- Rick Ansorge

Monday, October 12, 2009

MONDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- New research advances promise to improve the treatment and management of breast cancer, according to five studies highlighted at the 2009 Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Oct. 8 to 10 in San Francisco.

In one study, Heather L. McArthur, M.D., of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues compared outcomes in about 500 patients with small, localized HER2-positive breast cancers who either did or did not receive adjuvant trastuzumab after surgery. They found that trastuzumab was associated with significantly fewer deaths (one versus six) and recurrences (zero versus 10 locoregional recurrences and nine distant recurrences).

In a second study, Todd A. Swanson, M.D., of the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., and colleagues studied 87 women who received left breast irradiation. Compared to free breathing, they found that a technique called deep-inspiration breath hold -- in which patients hold their breath during irradiation -- was associated with significantly reduced radiation exposure to the heart (2.54 Gy versus 4.23 Gy) and left lung (7.86 Gy versus 9.08 Gy).

"It highlights an example of individualized treatment planning that can be implemented for our patients to further improve the risk benefit ratio for the safe delivery of radiation," Lori Pierce, M.D., of the University of Michigan School of Medicine in Ann Arbor, and chair of the symposium news planning team, said of the second study in a statement.

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