This article reviews ongoing progress in the effort to identify predictors of endocrine therapy responsiveness for breast cancer and discusses the value of “pre-treatment” vs “on-treatment” tumor profiling for predicting outcomes.
Breast cancer is the most common female malignancy in the Western world. Two-thirds of all breast cancers are estrogen receptor (ER)-positive, a phenotypic characteristic that is prognostic of disease-free survival and predictive of response to endocrine therapy.
Historically, breast tumor classification and therapeutic decisions have relied on immunohistochemical (IHC) techniques for characterizing biomarkers such as estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and the epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), as described in the review by Ma and colleagues. However, these markers have been found to be inadequate for fully predicting a patient’s response to a given breast cancer treatment such as endocrine therapy.
States population will be over 65 years old, with 2% of the population over 84. The corresponding projections for 2050 are 21% and 5%, respectively. These projections underscore the aging of the population, with most recent estimates of life expectancy hitting a record high of 78.1 years. With Americans living longer than ever before, physicians are already seeing larger numbers of elderly patients with cancers whose incidence increases with age, including colon cancer.
The Hippocratic principle of not harming the patient has remained up to this day an undisputed dogma in medicine. It reminds the physician of the possible detrimental, if not lethal, outcome of the treatment he prescribes and implicitly enforces good medical practice, although the true impact will unlikely be known. Oncology is one subspecialty of Medicine where this dilemma—ie, the pros and cons of treatment—is continuously put to the test, as the physician must decide on treatment for an often life-threatening illness while taking into account individual factors such as the patient’s will, performance status, available standard treatment options, and possible experimental approaches.
The treatment of older patients with colorectal cancer is not always straightforward. As highlighted in the article by Dr. Ades, the heterogeneity of physiologic aging, the increasing prevalence of comorbid disease with age, and changing preferences with aging make counseling about adjuvant therapy more complex for older patients than for younger patients.
The patient is a 39-year-old man who presents with pelvic lymphadenopathy. He has a history of ureteral reflux disease, recurrent nephrolithiasis, right nephrectomy, ileal loop diversion of the left ureter, and radical cystectomy for “bladder cancer,” which he underwent 3 years ago. The lymphadenopathy was discovered incidentally during recent imaging.
First-Line Maintenance With Erlotinib/Bevacizumab Improves Progression-Free Survival in Advanced Lung Cancer
Genentech, Inc, announced that a phase III study (ATLAS) of erlotinib (Tarceva) in combination with bevacizumab (Avastin) as maintenance therapy following initial treatment with Avastin plus chemotherapy in advanced non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) met its primary endpoint.
One-fifth of women who should receive radiation after a mastectomy are not getting this potentially lifesaving treatment, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Recent results from prospective, controlled trials, specifically evaluating strategies for preventing or reducing the severity of the dermatologic effects of EGFR inhibitors, represent the first step toward an evidence-based approach to the prevention and management of these important effects.
The review by LoRusso is a critical update to what could be considered the most significant dermatologic toxicity in modern oncology. This increased importance of dermatologic toxicities to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors can be attributed to several factors: 45% to 100% of patients will develop a papulopustular rash; the rash occurs in cosmetically sensitive areas (the face and upper trunk); it is associated with symptoms of pain and pruritus; and superinfections occur in approximately 30% of patients receiving these agents—all of which lead to dose modification by 76% and discontinuation by 32% of oncologists.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors have emerged as important drugs in cancer therapy, providing a proven survival advantage for some patients with non–small-cell lung cancer, colorectal cancer, head and neck cancer, and pancreas cancer.
Acai demonstrated antioxidant and apoptotic effects in in vitro and in vivo studies, but no human studies have been conducted. Despite the lack of supportive data, acai, like many herbal products, is promoted to cancer patients on the Internet, often with false claims of cure.