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Arti Hurria, MD
Director, Cancer and Aging Research Program
Associate Professor of Medical Oncology
Member, Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
Seeking to improve breast cancer outcomes and reduce side effects of cancer therapy in older patients.
A clinical trial in older adults with breast cancer will assess how chemotherapy affects health and daily functioning.
These studies will inform strategies to improve the clinical management of breast cancer in older adults who are likely to experience adverse effects of chemotherapy.
Breast cancer is a disease of aging. The median age of breast cancer is 62 and around one quarter are women between ages 75-84. As the population continues to age, projections estimate invasive breast cancer cases will double by 2030. Most of the cases will be in women ages 70-84. In spite of this, very few clinical trials include older patients. As a result, information is limited on how to guide treatment in this group of patients. Dr. Hurria is conducting a clinical trial to identify genetic markers that may predict a high risk of chemotherapy side effects in older patients.
Full Research Summary
Older patients (65 and older) comprise almost half of the breast cancer cases projected to be diagnosed in 2017. Studies show that older patients are at increased risk for chemotherapy-related side effects, yet no standard method exists to identify vulnerable individuals.
To address this issue, Dr. Hurria's team conducted a study to understand how chemotherapy affects the health and functioning of older adults with breast cancer and to design a tool to identify patients most at risk of developing chemotherapy-related side effects.
They have completed enrollment of a multicenter study of adults age 65 and older with stage I-III breast cancer who will receive chemotherapy. They will follow these patients from pre-chemotherapy to end of treatment to examine the association between chemotherapy and changes in the patients’ ability to complete daily activities. The general health and daily functioning of these individuals will be compared to that of 100 healthy controls (age 65 and older, no history of cancer) and 100 breast cancer controls (age 65 and older, stage I-III breast cancer, who did not receive chemotherapy).
In the coming year, Dr Hurria's team will utilize the blood collected at the start of the study to look at potential genetic markers that may be associated with a higher risk of severe side effects from chemotherapy in older adults with breast cancer.
Dr. Arti Hurria is a geriatrician and oncologist, focusing on care of the older patient with breast cancer. She completed a geriatric fellowship in the Harvard Geriatric Fellowship Program, followed by a hematology-oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Hurria is the Director of the Cancer and Aging Research Program at City of Hope. She is a recipient of the Paul Beeson Career Development Award in Aging Research and the American Society of Clinical Oncology-Association of Specialty Professors-Junior Development Award in Geriatric Oncology. Dr. Hurria is Vice Chair of the Alliance Cancer in the Elderly Committee, Chair of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Senior Adult Oncology Panel, President for the International Society of Geriatric Oncology, and Editor-in Chief of the Journal of Geriatric Oncology. In addition, Dr. Hurria is PI on a U13 grant in collaboration with the NIA and NCI to identify and develop research methodology that will lead evidence-based recommendations to improve clinical care for older adults with cancer. She also serves as national PI on an R01 funded grant evaluating clinical and biological predictors of chemotherapy toxicity in older adults with breast cancer. These grants are executed in collaboration with members from the Cancer and Aging Research Group, which Dr. Hurria founded and leads. Additionally, Dr. Hurria is multi-PI on a R01 funded study evaluating the cognitive function of long-term survivors of breast cancer and PI on a U13 grant which will focus on incorporating aging research across specialties and providing a forum to support the expanded pool of physician-scientists focused in aging research. In 2013, she received the ASCO B.J. Kennedy Award for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology.
BCRF Investigator Since
The Delta Air Lines Award