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Behind the Breakthroughs: A Promising New Treatment for Breast Cancer Patients with Brain Metastases
As many as half of patients diagnosed with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer will see their cancer spread to their brain. Though brain metastases are rare, they are exceedingly difficult to treat, so breast cancer patients with “brain mets” experience poor outcomes.
Breast cancer metastasis is a complex process—and the leading cause of breast cancer deaths. At this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) virtual annual meeting, researchers presented several studies that addressed the challenges of treating metastatic breast cancer.
Metastatic breast cancer (MBC), also referred to as stage IV or advanced breast cancer, is incurable and responsible for virtually all breast cancer related deaths, leading to more than 40,000 deaths in women and men in the U.S. each year.
Metastasis – the process where cancer spreads to other tissues – is a complex, multi-step process. Most cancer cells do not survive the journey. Those that do, and form new tumors at a different site, are the leading cause of breast cancer deaths.
Tumors are not made up of a homogenous group of cancer cells. In fact, they are made up of a variety of cancer cells. Researchers are determined to understand these cell types and how they contribute to breast cancer growth.
Metastasis occurs when a cancer cell leaves the tissue from which it originated and forms a new tumor in a different organ. When breast cancer spreads to the brain, known as brain metastasis, few treatment options exist.
Each year, BCRF convenes its researchers from around the world for an exclusive research retreat in New York City. The research retreat has been part of BCRF’s annual October events since the early 2000’s spurred by Scientific Director, Dr.