December “’tis the season” for a lot of things including, believe it or not, breast cancer research. Every year in early to mid-December thousands of doctors, researchers and advocates converge on San Antonio Texas for the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), the largest international breast cancer conference. It’s the season of hearing the latest research updates in the world of breast cancer on everything from surgery and treatment to quality of life. YSC staff and advocates attended again this year to learn about promising (or not so promising) developments, and to share that news with young women who could not attend the conference in person. YSC attendees included YSC RISE advocates Diane Massaglia, Laura D’Alessandro and Sherri Waldvogel as well as YSC RISE Legacy advocates Tracy Leduc, Sueann Mark, Ann Marie Potter, Andrea Hutton and Jeannine Donahue.
Together, we created a YouTube playlist of short videos that highlight some of what we were seeing and hearing at SABCS. Below are some highlights and check out YSC’s YouTube for even more videos and information:
New Agent for Brain Metastases in Clinical Trials
A new agent, Tucatinib (ONT-380) looks promising in treating HER2+ brain metastases. Phase I data was presented in a poster and shown on this video. The Phase 2 HER2CLIMB trial is investigating the efficacy of this drug in combination with capecitabine and trastuzumab for metastatic or locally advanced HER2+ breast cancer including patients with or without brain metastases. Click here for more information on this study.
Scalp Cooling Caps for Hair Loss Prevention
Two exhibitors at the conference displayed their technology for cold caps that women can wear on their heads to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy. Data from a randomized controlled trial was also presented at the conference and showed that 50% of women who used the cold cap technology kept their hair. View our video interview with Dr. Nangia on this topic and RISE Advocate Andrea Hutton demonstrates how the cooling cap works with Dignicap.
POSITIVE Trial to examine Safety of Tamoxifen “Baby Break”
A clinical trial examining whether it is safe to take a “baby break” from Tamoxifen to have a child is now enrolling in the United States. For more information, watch this video.
Liquid biopsies may find DNA in the blood of metastatic breast cancer patients that can be used to tailor therapy. In the trial reported, for some patients, it meant longer progression-free survival and overall survival. Click here for more information.
POSH Study of Women Ages 18-40 Data Reported
This study had a number of presentations and interesting outcomes. It was a 16-year study of young women diagnosed with breast cancer. It found that BRCA+ young breast cancer patients do not fare worse than non-BRCA patients. For triple negative breast cancer, BRCA mutation carriers actually did better than those without the BRCA mutation. Click here for a YSC video of advocates discussing this study. The study also examined mastectomy vs. lumpectomy in young women. It found a higher rate of local recurrence with lumpectomy but no difference in overall survival. It appears that clear surgical margins and appropriate post-mastectomy chest wall radiation is more important however than the extent of surgery.
PARP Inhibitor for BRCA+ Breast Cancer
For patients with metastatic or locally recurrent BRCA+ breast cancer, adding the parp inhibitor velaparib to chemo increased the responsiveness of the tumor to treatment without added toxicity. Read more about this study here.
YSC’s ‘Shady Pink Elephant’ Presentation
YSC presented a poster on its “Shady Pink Elephant” end-of-life series during one of the SABCS poster sessions. A video about the poster can be viewed here.
Dr. Vogel shouts out YSC!
Dr. Vogel of New York is a SABCS legend known for his hard-hitting and insightful questions asked of study investigators presenting their data. YSC managed to track him down for a quick shout-out. Learn more about Dr. Vogel.