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Clinical Trials in 2015 Highlight Key Issues in Early Stage and Metastatic Breast Cancer

By BCRF | February 1, 2016

This week, in an article published in Nature Reviews, BCRF investigator Dr. Martine Piccart cited results from the some of the most exciting clinical trials from 2015.  These academic led clinical trials have shed light on important issues relating to cancer care in both early stage and metastatic breast cancer.

Some of the highlights from clinical trials reported in 2015 include:

Reducing chemotherapy for early stage breast cancers.

  • Excellent disease-free survival was observed with paclitaxel and trastuzumab without anthracyclines for treatment of early stage, HER2‑positive breast cancer.
  • The TAILORx study, supported in part by BCRF, showed that a gene-based prognostic assay called Oncotype DX® was able to identify women with early stage ER+ breast cancer who could forgo chemotherapy. In this study, women with a low Oncotype DX recurrence score had an excellent outcome after anti-estrogen therapy alone and should be spared adjuvant chemotherapy.

Improved therapies of metastatic breast cancer.

  • New data suggests that platinum-based therapy, such as carboplatin, can improve outcomes in patients with metastatic triple negative breast cancers that carry the BRCA-mutation.
  • Two studies demonstrated that the new CDK4/6 inhibitor, palbocilib can improve progression-free survival in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Based on these findings the FDA provided conditional approval of the combination of palbociclib with letrozole for the first-line treatment of ER-positive, HER2‑negative metastatic breast cancer.

“Academic research remains alive,” Dr. Piccart notes, and “academic clinical investigators continue to find the energy needed to secure the financial support for this critically important research.”

Since its founding in 1993, BCRF has supported clinical trial research, both in the U.S. and internationally. As a result of this commitment, BCRF has played a role in every major clinical advance in breast cancer care in the last two decades. In 2015 alone, BCRF is supporting over $10 million in clinical trials-related research.