Advanced Breast Cancer Treatment : 2014 Breast Cancer Symposium Guidelines

Key Research from the 2014 Breast Cancer Symposium,
Advances in Breast Cancer Prevention, Screening, and Therapy

During the 2014 Brest Cancer symposium, the American Society of Clinical Oncology – ASCO – has released updated guidelines for the treatment of the major form of advanced breast cancer.

HER2-negative breast tumors include cancers that don’t respond to drugs that target the HER2 protein, Almost 80 percent of women with advanced breast cancer have HER2-negative tumors, the group noted.


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To identify optimal chemo- and targeted therapy for women with human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2)– negative (or unknown) advanced breast cancer.

A systematic review of randomized evidence (including systematic reviews and meta-analyses) from 1993 through to current was completed. Outcomes of interest included survival, progression-free survival, response, quality of life, and adverse effects. Guideline recommendations were evidence based and were agreed on by the Expert Panel via consensus.

Seventy-nine studies met the inclusion criteria, comprising 20 systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses, 30 trials on first-line treatment, and 29 trials on second-line and subsequent treatment. These trials form the evidence base for the guideline recommendations.

Endocrine therapy is preferable to chemotherapy as first-line treatment for patients with estrogen receptor–positive metastatic breast cancer unless improvement is medically necessary (eg, immediately life-threatening disease). Single agent is preferable to combination chemotherapy, and longer planned duration improves outcome but must be balanced against toxicity. There is no single optimal first-line or subsequent line chemotherapy, and choice of treatment will be determined by multiple factors including prior therapy, toxicity, performance status, comorbid conditions, and patient preference. The role of bevacizumab remains controversial. Other targeted therapies have not so far been shown to enhance chemotherapy outcome in HER2-negative breast cancer.

Sources and More Information:
  • Chemotherapy and Targeted Therapy for Women With Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2–Negative (or unknown) Advanced Breast Cancer: American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline, American Society of Clinical Oncology, 10.1200/JCO.2014.56.7479, September 2, 2014.
  • New Guidelines for Treating Form of Advanced Breast Cancer, MedlinePlus, September 2, 2014.
  • #BCS14 meeting abstracts and daily news..

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