Breast Cancer 2013: 2 TAM Trials Top List

Shira Berman


December 23, 2013

In This Article

Genetics, Targeted Therapies Yield Brighter Prognosis

Looking ahead to the future, Dr. Miller and Dr. Schapira pointed to a few key items that can help clinicians -- and patients -- fight breast cancer more effectively.

As in many other types of cancer, the study and use of targeted therapies has dramatically changed treatment standards at all stages of disease. "This is really the beginning of a new era in oncology," said Dr. Schapira.

In particular, she pointed to the work being done among patients with HER2-positive disease. "The emergence of dual anti-HER 2 treatment regimens,[8] now recently approved for use in first-line metastatic settings in addition to neoadjuvant settings, will continue a winning trend and contribute to transforming the landscape for these patients," she said.

Dr. Miller considered the long-term effects of the US Supreme Court case overturning Myriad’s patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2.[9] "There is a potential to make genetic testing truly available and affordable for a much larger group of patients," she noted. Exactly how this will work is still playing out in the courts, considering the patents that Myriad still holds, but the possibility of being able to identify, counsel, and treat BRCA-mutated cancers in earlier stages is certainly tantalizing and something to look forward to in the coming years.

Ultimately, however, Dr. Miller reminded us, the most important changes in 2014 and beyond will not stem from clinical trial results or originate in research laboratories. Instead, it will come from practicing clinicians. In 2012 and again in 2013, the American Society of Clinical Oncology released a short list of "what not to do" practices as part of the Choosing Wisely® campaign run by the American Board of Internal Medicine.[10] If all oncologists focus on adhering to evidence-based recommendations in the coming year, then 2014 will surely be a year to remember.


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