XRAY — Behind the Metastatic Breast Cancer Headlines

FORCE’s eXamining the Relevance of Articles for You: Metastatic Breast Cancer (XRAY: MBC) looks behind the cancer headlines to bring you reliable information about metastatic breast cancer research-related news and information. XRAY: MBC reviews metastatic breast cancer research, provides plain-language and in-depth summaries, links to clinical trials, summarizes current guidelines and rates how well the media covered each topic. XRAY: MBC was made possible by the generous support of Novartis. 

Metastatic Breast Cancer

Read the topics we are discussing this month

Relevance: High

Relevance

Quality of Writing: High

Quality of Writing

Article: Running marathons with metastatic breast cancer? Yes!

Most relevant for: Women with metastatic breast cancer

Runner’s World Magazine featured Sarah Smith, a metastatic breast cancer patient who runs marathons and ultra-marathons. By telling her story, Sarah wants to encourage people to stay active, despite the challenges that life may bring. (10/13/19)

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Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Inherited mutations In metastatic breast cancer patients

Most relevant for: People with metastatic breast cancer

Recent research shows that a significant portion of patients with metastatic breast cancer have harmful mutations in a gene associated with hereditary breast cancer and increased breast cancer risk. (9/26/19)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Guideline: FDA issues warning on CDK inhibitors

Most relevant for: Patients currently taking a CDK inhibitor

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety alert for CDK inhibitors, including Ibrance (palbociclib), Kisqali (ribociclib), and Verzenio (abemaciclib). (9/24/19)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Supportive care can improve quality of life for people with metastatic breast cancer

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer

Metastatic breast cancer patients have unique needs for treatment and care. Connecting patients to appropriate support services and palliative care is an area of need in health care. A recent study reported improvement in metastatic breast cancer patient quality of life and wellness with an intervention program called the Supportive, Education and Advocacy (MBC-SEA) program. (8/21/19)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: CDK inhibitors may increase survival for ER-positive metastatic breast cancer patients

Most relevant for: People with metastatic, hormone-positive, Her2-negative breast cancer

The phase III MONALEESA-7 study is a clinical trial looking at the effect of a type of treatment known as a CDK4/6 inhibitor in pre- or perimenopausal women with hormone receptor–positive advanced breast cancer. (7/22/19) 

 

 

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: FDA approves an immunotherapy treatment for some patients with triple-negative breast cancer

Most relevant for: People with metastatic, triple-negative breast cancer

The FDA approved the use of the immunotherapy drug atezolizumab (Tecentriq) in combination with the chemotherapy agent nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane) for certain patients with advanced triple-negative breast cancer. (5/26/19)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: Smart drug shows promising results for treatment of metastatic triple-negative breast cancer

Most relevant for: People with metastatic, triple-negative breast cancer

We report results of an early-stage clinical trial of a new class of drugs for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). IMMU-132 is a combination of two different molecules: an antibody that targets certain types of cancer and delivers a chemotherapy drug that can kill cancer cells. This study looks at whether IMMU-132 is safe and effective for treating metastatic TNBC. (4/16/19)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Guideline: Breast surgeons recommend genetic testing for all breast cancer patients

Most relevant for: Anyone diagnosed with breast cancer

Summary: 

The American Society of Breast Surgeons published statement on genetic testing for hereditary breast cancer on February 10, 2019. It includes recommendations about who should be tested. Among these is the recommendation that all breast cancer patients get genetic testing, as well as women who do not have breast cancer but fit the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines. (3/25/19)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Study: Prevalence of BRCA founder mutations in Bahamian women

Most relevant for: Bahamanian women

Summary:

The Bahamas has the highest known frequency of BRCA mutations among people diagnosed with breast cancer. This study reviewed whether population-based BRCA testing (testing everyone regardless of family or personal history of cancer) would be an effective approach for finding mutation carriers in the Bahamas. (3/4/19)

Relevance: Low

Relevance

Research Timeline: Lab Research

Research Timeline

Article: Promise of a cure for cancer is too good to be true

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with cancer

Summary:

The Jerusalem Post published an article titled, “A cure for cancer?  Israeli scientists may have found one.” The story profiled a small Israeli company called Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies that has been working on developing new cancer treatments since 2000. The article relied almost entirely on an interview with the company’s chairperson of the board who made a series of unsubstantiated claims that included that, in a year’s time, the company will offer a complete cure for cancer. (2/12/19)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Quality of Writing: High

Quality of Writing

Article: The cost of cancer care and impact of financial hardship on treatment

Most relevant for: Anyone diagnosed with cancer

Summary:

Several recent studies on the cost of cancer care show the negative effects on cancer patients. In this XRAYS we review a recent article by Kaiser Health News and associated studies about the financial impact of breast cancer treatment and cost of precision medicine. (2/8/19)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: The impact of palbociclib (Ibrance) on overall survival for metastatic breast cancer patients in the PALOMA-3 trial

Most relevant for: People with metastatic, hormone-positive breast cancer

Summary: 

The PALOMA-3 clinical trial showed that a new CDK4/6 inhibitor in combination therapy improved progression-free survival of women treated for hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer in women with prior disease progression after endocrine therapy. This XRAYS reviews a newly published study in the New England Journal of Medicine that looks at overall survival in the original PALOMA-3 study. (1/23/19)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Can population-based DNA sequencing find more people at risk for hereditary cancers?

Most relevant for: Women over age 30

It is well documented that many BRCA mutation carriers are missed using current family history-based screening approaches. As a result, experts are beginning to call for population-based BRCA genetic testing—an organized effort to screen all women like we do for breast and cervical cancer.  A recent study looked at whether a population-based genetic testing approach would better identify mutation carriers compared with current practice. (11/17/18)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Quality of Writing: High

Quality of Writing

Article: The importance of racial diversity in clinical trials

Most relevant for: People who are a member of a racial or ethnic minority group

This article by journalists Caroline Chen and Riley Wong looks at racial disparities between participation in clinical trials and the population of people with cancer. (11/6/18)

Relevance: Medium-Low

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Lab Research

Research Timeline

Study: A new method for determining whether genetic variants in BRCA1 increase cancer risk

Most relevant for: People who have a Variant of Uncertain Significance in a gene associated with cancer risk.

Ever since BRCA1 was discovered, researchers have been trying to understand which of the thousands of possible DNA changes in this gene increase cancer risk and which are harmless changes.  A new study in Nature reports how a cutting-edge technology called “genome editing” may be used to classify changes—known as variants of uncertain significance-in BRCA1 as harmful or harmless. Once validated, this same technology may be used to classify variants in other genes. (9/29/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: Gardening improves health outcomes for breast cancer patients

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with breast cancer who would benefit from increased activity and from eating more vegetables

Research has shown that adopting a healthier lifestyle may improve overall health and outcomes for cancer survivors. This study looked at a 1-year home-based gardening intervention to increase activity and wellbeing among breast cancer survivors. (08/31/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Study identifies genes associated with risk of triple-negative breast cancer

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer

Panel testing can identify women who are at increased risk for breast cancer.  However, those at risk for triple-negative breast cancer cannot easily be identified because other than BRCA1, genes that increase the risk for triple-negative breast cancer are unknown.  A new study uses panel testing to identify which genes increase the risk for triple-negative breast cancer. (8/23/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: Immunotherapy may lead to long-term remission of metastatic breast cancer

Most relevant for: People with advanced cancers

Metastatic breast cancer is often difficult to treat. In a new approach, called adoptive cell therapy (ACT), a patient’s own T-cells (a type of cancer-fighting immune cells) are collected, multiplied in a lab, and then returned to the patient. The goal is to enhance the patient’s immune system with many more T-cells that recognize and attack metastasized tumor cells. This study reports on a single patient whose metastatic breast cancer is still in remission (no evidence of disease) after more than 22 months following ACT. (8/16/18)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: Evaluation of some direct-to-consumer genetic testing reveals inaccuracies and misinterpretations

Most relevant for: People who are considering or have had direct-to-consumer testing

A clinical genetic testing laboratory examined results from direct-to-consumer genetic testing ordered directly by patients. They found many instances of false positives—reported mutations that were not actually present—and in some cases, reports of variants that "increased risk," but were actually benign. This study emphasized the importance of involving genetics experts in the interpretation of genetic test results. (6/28/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: Mutations in Lynch syndrome genes MSH6 and PMS2 may be associated with breast cancer

Most relevant for: Women with an MSH6 or PMS2 mutation

Some women with mutations in MSH6 and PMS2, two Lynch syndrome genes, may have a modest (2 to 3-fold) increased risk for breast cancer. (6/14/18 updated 09/25/19)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Study: Financial burden affects quality of life of cancer survivors

Most relevant for:

Cancer-related financial burden can keep survivors from getting the care that they need, yet how this burden affects mental and physical health is still unknown. A study found that almost one-third of cancer survivors report having financial burden; those most likely to be affected were under age 65, female, members of racial or ethnic minority groups, and people who lack access to adequate insurance. (5/17/16)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Study: Factors that affect the ability to work in people with metastatic cancer

Most relevant for: People living with metastatic cancer

Some patients who live with metastatic cancer either want or need to continue working while coping with symptoms of their disease and treatment. A recent study that looked at over 600 people with metastatic breast, prostate, colon, or lung cancer found that about one-third of them continue working full or part time. People most likely to continue working were those undergoing hormonal treatment and those with less severe symptoms or side effects from treatment. (4/12/16)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Study: What are the genetics underlying 12 different cancer types?

Most relevant for:

As gene sequencing has become more affordable, researchers and health care providers are now looking for mutations in many genes beyond BRCA1, BRCA2 and others that are associated with known hereditary cancer syndromes. By sequencing thousands of genes rather than just one or two, researchers can better understand which inherited mutations affect cancer risk. In this study, researchers sequenced thousands of genes in patients with one of 12 cancers, including breast, and catalogued which gene mutations are most commonly found in each cancer. (03/01/16)

This program was made possible by the generous support of:

Novartis

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