The annual meeting of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium was held virtually this year from Dec. 8 to 11 and attracted participants from around the world, including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, researchers, and other health care professionals. The conference highlighted recent advances in the risk, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of breast cancer, with presentations focusing on emerging treatments in hard-to-treat patient populations, including patients with metastatic breast cancer.
As part of the RxPONDER study, Kevin Kalinsky, M.D., of the Glenn Family Breast Center at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues found that postmenopausal women with lymph node-positive early-stage breast cancer and a low recurrence score receive no additional benefit from chemotherapy.
The authors enrolled patients (women with hormone receptor-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative breast cancer and one to three positive lymph nodes with a recurrence score of 0 to 25 performed on their breast cancer) at 632 sites in nine countries (United States, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Ireland, France, Spain, Korea, and Saudi Arabia). A total of 5,083 such patients were randomly assigned to receive either hormone therapy alone or intravenous taxane and/or anthracycline-based chemotherapy followed by hormone therapy. The patients were monitored for a median of five years to assess invasive disease-free survival (IDFS) and overall survival (OS). The researchers found that postmenopausal women with lymph node-positive early-stage breast cancer and a low recurrence score derived no added benefit from chemotherapy, while premenopausal women saw improvements in IDFS and OS with added chemotherapy.
“For postmenopausal women with this type of breast cancer, our findings mean they’re spared the time, money, and harmful side effects that come with chemotherapy. For premenopausal women, our findings mean they can be assured that chemotherapy should, in fact, help them live longer or without their disease spreading,” Kalinsky said. “Either way, our results are great news for women diagnosed with this common type of breast cancer. We’re moving away from a one-size-fits-all treatment approach.”
Reshma Jagsi, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues found that under-recognition of adverse effects was common among patients with breast cancer treated with radiotherapy, especially among younger patients and Black patients.