XRAYS - Making Sense of Cancer Headlines

FORCE’s eXamining the Relevance of Articles for Young Survivors (XRAYS) program is a reliable resource for breast cancer research-related news and information. XRAYS reviews new breast cancer research, provides plain-language summaries, and rates how the media covered the topic. XRAYS is funded by the CDC.

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Clinical Trials

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STUDY: Smart drug shows promising results for treatment of 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 an antibody-drug conjugate, meaning that it combines two different molecules: an antibody that targets certain proteins or tumor markers and delivers SN-38, a chemotherapy drug that can kill tumor cells. This study looks at whether IMMU-132 is safe and effective for treating metastatic TNBC. (4/16/19)

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


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)

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


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)

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STUDY: Improving outcomes for young women with breast cancer: fertility and childbearing issues

Fertility issues and family planning decisions are prominent concerns for young women with breast cancer. This XRAYS looks at Dr. Ann Partridge’s presentation at the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer symposium. Her talk, “Breast cancer in young women: Understanding differences to improve outcomes," focused on initial findings from the Young Women's Breast Cancer Study. Dr. Partridge’s research continues in the currently enrolling POSITIVE trial which tests whether women can safely interrupt adjuvant endocrine therapy in order to get pregnant. (1/7/19)

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ARTICLE: Pamela Munster's story: Cancer in the family

In the Saturday essay of The Washington Post, Dr. Pamela Munster recounts her family's history with cancer associated with a mutation in the BRCA2 gene. She details her father's extraordinary journey with pancreatic cancer, one of the most aggressive and deadly cancers. (11/27/18)

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ARTICLE: The importance of racial diversity in clinical trials

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)

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

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)

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STUDY: American Heart Association examines the challenges of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer

Current breast cancer treatments can negatively affect cardiovascular health.  Recently, the American Heart Association released its first scientific statement on cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.  This statement includes a comprehensive overview of the prevalence of both diseases, shared risk factors, cardiotoxic effects of therapy and the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease in breast cancer patients. (5/2/18)

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STUDY: A new type of cancer “vaccine” eliminates tumors in mice

Immunotherapy is treatment that uses the immune system to fight cancer. Still in its infancy, it is a promising therapy that is changing how certain cancers are treated. A new study reports that tumors in lab mice were eliminated when they were injected with two immune system-enhancing agents. This new approach is called in situ (at the original site) vaccination because the injections are given directly into the tumors. It worked on several different types of mouse tumors, including lymphomas and breast tumors. This approach may be safer than conventional immunotherapy because it uses very low doses of the agents and it does not require tumors to have particular markers. (02/23/18)

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STUDY: Can chemotherapy before surgery fuel breast cancer metastasis?

Some breast cancer patients are given neoadjuvant (before surgery) chemotherapy. However, some recent studies have raised concerns that neoadjuvant treatment might actually trigger cancer spread in certain situations. In the current study, researchers used mouse models and human breast cancers to explore this possibility. (10/10/17)

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ARTICLE: Huffington Post article brings attention to metastatic breast cancer

Barbara Jacoby's Huffington Post piece, "How do breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer differ?" emphasizes the need for more treatment options for patients with advanced breast cancer.

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