The Rapid Evolution of Breast Cancer Care

April 10, 2020

The treatment landscape for breast cancer continues to evolve at an accelerating pace. Because of an expanding arsenal of targeted therapies, survival rates are increasing, and patients are living longer and more meaningful lives. But with new therapeutic options come complex decision making, and a need to effectively disseminate the growing body of knowledge for researchers and community clinicians.

In this issue of ONCOLOGY, we spoke with Joyce A. O’Shaughnessy, MD, chair of Breast Cancer Research and chair of Breast Cancer Prevention Research at Baylor-Sammons Cancer Center and the chair of The US Oncology Network, about recent treatment breakthroughs in the breast cancer space, the abundance of promising therapies moving through the approval pipeline, and the challenges of keeping up with the rapid pace of discovery.

“We’ve had a sea change in breast cancer just within the last 6 months,” says O’Shaughnessy of the recent discoveries. “You’ve got to now go looking [for the mutations]. You’ve got to sequence the breast cancer.”

O’Shaughnessy also discusses the crucial role that conferences such as the Miami Breast Cancer Conference play in educating clinicians. “It’s because of the rapid pace of discovery,” says O’Shaughnessy about the need for these events. “It’s because there’s so much new data that you can apply tomorrow in your practice…it’s just really the practical optimal management of your patient Monday morning.”

Also in this issue, you will read of 2 patient scenarios: a 69-year-old man with a history of metastatic prostate cancer, and a 57-year-old woman presenting with a nodule on her breast. How do we treat them? Our expert contributors go in depth on best practices and optimal treatments.

Within these pages, you will also find a review of the rapidly evolving immunotherapy applications for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, and a breakdown of the FDA’s recent approval of nivolumab (Opdivo) plus ipilimumab (Yervoy) as a second-line treatment for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.

I hope you find our journal helpful in caring for your patients through what is likely one of the most challenging times in their lives. As always, thank you for reading.