CDC’s Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Virtual Program Helps Patients Understand the Disease
Unlike other types of breast cancer, a triple-negative diagnosis doesn’t have any of the common receptors found in other breast cancers, presenting potential treatment challenges to patients and providers. To assist patients with triple-negative breast cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a new virtual program, allowing patients to consult and ask questions to a virtual coach in the comfort of their own homes.
The Case of the Terrible Toxicities
After completing neoadjuvant chemotherapy for triple-negative invasive breast cancer, Madeline, age 32, had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstructive surgery. Final pathology showed residual disease in the breast and one lymph node, and her oncologist recommended adjuvant therapy with capecitabine (1,500 mg twice a day for 14 days, off for 7 days). Five weeks postoperatively, she started cycle 1. Eight days later, her husband called the cancer clinic reporting that over the past two days, his wife developed profound weakness, unremitting diarrhea despite using diphenoxylate and atropine as directed, and painful, red, swollen hands and feet. Her symptoms represented a drastic change from her usual routine and energy level.
FDA Approves Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine for Early Breast Cancer
On May 3, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kakcyla®) for the adjuvant treatment of patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer (EBC) who have residual invasive disease after neoadjuvant taxane and trastuzumab-based treatment.
FDA Approves Atezolizumab for PD-L1 Positive Unresectable Locally Advanced or Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
On March 8, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to atezolizumab in combination with paclitaxel protein-bound for adult patients with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer whose tumors express PD-L1 (PD-L1 stained tumor-infiltrating immune cells [IC] of any intensity covering ≥ 1% of the tumor area), as determined by an FDA-approved test.
FDA Approves Trastuzumab and Hyaluronidase-oysk Injection for Subcutaneous Use
On February 28, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a trastuzumab and hyaluronidase-oysk injection, for subcutaneous use (Herceptin Hylecta). The drug is a combination of trastuzumab, a HER2/neu receptor antagonist, and hyaluronidase, an endoglycosidase, for the treatment of HER2‑overexpressing breast cancer.
BRCA Is Not the Only Common Mutation for Breast and Ovarian Cancer
Multigene testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer has increased the detection predisposition genes beyond BRCA1 and BRCA2, according to study findings presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on December 7, 2018.
Comorbidities Negatively Impact Breast Cancer Survival
Missouri has a high breast cancer mortality rate, as well as high rates of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and hypertension, which present more often in individuals who are poor, those living in rural areas, African Americans, and older adults. Women with comorbidities at the time of breast cancer diagnosis may have a worse prognosis, so researchers assessed survival disparities among these patient populations. According to the findings presented at the , comorbidities can negatively impact overall breast cancer survival.
Glutathione Plays a Role in Treatment-Related CINV
Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) can negatively affect nutritional intake, ability to work, and treatment adherence. Research suggests that younger age and female gender are the strongest predictors of CINV, but those may not be the only factors, particularly for delayed nausea, according to research findings presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on December 5, 2018.
Circulating Tumor Cells Predict Survival
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are identified in 20%–25% of patients with nonmetastatic breast cancer, and recent research suggests that detection of CTCs at five-year follow-up may predict late recurrence for nonmetastatic, estrogen receptor-positive (ER+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2–) breast cancer. In a study presented at the , researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found that the presence of CTCs in patients with nonmetastatic breast cancer was associated with shortened relapse-free survival (RFS), regardless of the subtype.
Educational Workshop Improves Patient-Perceived Knowledge About Their Disease
Patient education can improve interactions with their healthcare team and provide coping mechanisms for the psychosocial effects of metastatic breast cancer, according to study findings presented at the .
Tailored Education Improves Patient Satisfaction and Comprehension
Throughout the course of treatment, patients with breast cancer receive a significant amounts of information from their healthcare team. Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine assessed and revamped the educational materials from the facility’s Memorial Radiation Oncology Department to achieve a patient comprehension of key treatment-related concepts of 75%. They found that although some educational concepts remained unmemorable or improperly emphasized, overall trends in comprehension indicated that a patient-tailored approach led to better satisfaction and outcomes, according to the findings presented at the .
Trastuzumab Remains Standard HER2+ Breast Cancer Therapy Despite Cardiac Risks
Trastuzumab can improve disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer. Although some studies suggest that short-term treatment (less than one year) may reduce cardiac toxicity and cost without compromising outcomes, the results of a new study presented at the disagree.
Study Identifies Novel Triplet Therapy for HR+/HER2+ Breast Cancer
Researchers from the University of Colorado Denver Young Women Breast Cancer Translational Program in Aurora identified a potential triplet combination for the treatment of hormone receptor-positive (HR+) human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer: HER2-targeted small molecule inhibitor tucatinib, CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib, and selective estrogen receptor blocker fulvestrant. They presented the findings at the .
Highly Emetogenic Chemotherapy Still Contributes to Potentially Avoidable Adverse Events
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented an oncology outcome measure to assess the quality of care and determine outpatient hospital payment (OP-35: Admissions and Emergency Department Visits for Patients Receiving Outpatient Chemotherapy). The measure assesses 30-day postchemotherapy rates of inpatient or emergency department (ED) events deemed “potentially avoidable” because of an association with any of the 10 CMS-defined toxicities: anemia, dehydration, diarrhea, fever, nausea, emesis, neutropenia, pain, pneumonia, or sepsis. Researchers sought to assess those events when linked to highly emetogenic chemotherapy (HEC) in patients treated with anthracycline plus cyclophosphamide (AC), carboplatin, or cisplatin. They presented the findings at the .
Social Support May Play a Role in Treatment Adherence
Many women discontinue adjuvant endocrine therapy (AET) because of adverse events (AEs), and only half remain adherent at five years. Researchers from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, found that continued social support for those women may improve AET adherence. They presented the findings at the .
Socioeconomic Factors Predict Survival in Nonmetastatic Breast Cancer
Racial and regional disparities impact the incidence of, mortality from, and survival from breast cancer, but the role of other socioeconomic factors is unclear. Researchers from Fudan University in Shanghai, China, conducted a large study and found that marital status, insurance status, median household income, and residence also contribute to survival from nonmetastatic breast cancer. They presented the findings at the .
Breast MRI Protocol Improves Patient Care
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help diagnose breast cancer, but it is costly. Leadership at the University of Washington in Bellingham developed a protocol to improve the timeliness of care, moving the time of MRI prior to surgeon evaluation, and found that it led to enhanced patient care, eliminated delays in treatment, avoided unnecessary tests, shifted appropriate care to primary-care providers, and provided all necessary data prior to initial surgical consultation. They presented the findings at the .
Patients Rank the Importance of PRO Measures Differently
Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) can improve patient satisfaction and potentially impact survival. However, PRO data are not well-collected outside of the research setting. Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, CT, conducting qualitative study assessed the most personally relevant PROs in women with metastatic breast cancer and observed substantial variation in patient preferences. They presented the findings at the .
Time to Treatment Discontinuation Shorter in Patients Who Receive First-Line Palbociclib
Current treatment guidelines recommend sequential hormone therapy for patients with hormone receptor-positive (HR+) metastatic breast cancer who are not in visceral crisis and whose disease is not refractory to endocrine treatment. Second-line fulvestrant monotherapy is a treatment option for patients in whom disease progresses after first-line palbociclib. Researchers used real-world data to evaluate the time to treatment discontinuation (TTD) of second-line fulvestrant in patients with HR+ human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2–) metastatic breast cancer who did (n = 88) and did not (n = 100) receive first-line palbociclib and found it was shorter in patients who received palbociclib. They presented the findings at the .
Overall Survival From Breast Cancer Differs Based on Tumor Type and Location
Triple-negative breast cancer tumors are thought to be more immunogenic than other breast cancer subtypes, such as luminal A/B or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (HER2+) tumors. Among all breast cancers, tumors appear more commonly in the upper outer quadrant. However, it is not clear whether expression of immune response genes vary with tumor location among the different subtypes. Researchers assessed gene expression associated with immune response pathways to identify potential treatment targets and presented the findings at the .
Tumor Heterogeneity May Affect Outcomes in Patients With DCIS
Intratumor heterogeneity can lead to cancer progression, and tumors with the highest levels of heterogeneity may be more likely to progress. Researchers compared mutational loads from separate areas of pure ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) to genetic heterogeneity in DCIS lesions that coexist with invasive cancer and presented the findings at the .
On-Treatment Genetic Testing Improves Accuracy of Tumor Response Prediction
Genetic testing during treatment can improve accuracy of response and outcome prediction compared to other prognostic tests, according to results from a study assessing on-treatment changes in gene expression in patients receiving chemotherapy. Researchers from Oikonomidou O Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine in Edinburgh, United Kingdom, presented the findings at the .
Study Identifies Factors Associated With Long-Term Survival in Metastatic Breast Cancer
Few women with metastatic breast cancer live five years or longer, and predictors of long-term survival are not well understood. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) in Pennsylvania identified demographic- and disease-specific factors related to survival and presented their findings at the .
Asymptomatic Screening Can Improve Survival Rates in Patients With Recurrent Breast Cancer
Current guidelines recommend asymptomatic surveillance of breast cancer only for the detection of locoregional recurrences. Researchers from the Asan Medical Center in Seoul, Republic of Korea, conducted a retrospective 10-year survival analysis of a large cohort of patients with recurrent breast cancer to identify the impact of early detection on survival outcomes and presented the findings at the .
Screening Intervention Improves Access to Mammograms
Access to quality breast cancer screening and treatment may contribute to racial disparities outcomes. In 2016, researchers at the urban safety net Cook County Health and Hospitals System in Chicago, IL, implemented changes in mammography practices, which included installing digital machines at one of four sites, centralizing reading of images at a single site with radiologists specialized in mammography, and increasing care coordination such as enhanced patient outreach efforts. The efforts improved screening volume and cancer detection, according to the results presented at the .
The Case of the Emotional Emergency
Sharon, age 40, was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. Pathologically, her tumor was grade I, estrogen- and progesterone-receptor positive, and HER2 negative. The mass measured 0.5 cm on ultrasound. Sharon has no family history of cancer and is devastated by the diagnosis. One of her close friends recently died from metastatic breast cancer, and she is certain will have the same fate. She tells Jennifer, an RN in the breast center, that she is going home to “get her affairs in order.”
Liquid Biopsy May Predict Breast Cancer Late Recurrence
Liquid biopsies—blood tests that detect circulating tumor cells—may help healthcare providers predict which women with hormone receptor-positive (HR+) breast cancer are at higher risk of recurrence, according to the results of a study published in JAMA Oncology.
CDC Spreads Breast Cancer Awareness
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent out a reminder to healthcare providers to share education and resources with their patients about breast cancer screening, detection, and prevention. CDC included a list for providers to highlight:
- Breast cancer risk factors
- Knowing what to do to lower those risks
- When to get regular breast cancer screenings
The Overlooked Link Between Alcohol and Breast Cancer
At a recent college alumni dinner, a friend and wine expert pulled me aside and asked, “Is it true that wine increases the risk of breast cancer?” She knew I worked in the cancer division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), so it was a reasonable question. I’ve been at wine tastings she’s hosted, and I needed to be straight.
“Yes,” I said, “the evidence is clear: drinking alcohol of any kind increases breast cancer risk.”
Study Finds Association Between Increased BMI and Lower Breast Cancer Risk in Young Women
Young women with high body fat have a decreased chance of developing breast cancer before menopause, according to a new study published in JAMA Oncology. The finding may help researchers better understand the role obesity plays in breast cancer risk.
Which of the Following Isn’t a Breast Cancer Surveillance Recommendation?
Mrs. Johnson has just been told she's in remission from breast cancer. Which of the following isn't a surveillance recommendation?
A. Routine mammography screening every 12 months for locally recurrent tumors or new primary cancers
B. Screening for cervical and colorectal cancer every six months for two years
C. Gynecologic evaluation every 12 months for women on tamoxifen therapy who have an intact uterus
D. Detailed history and physical examination every three to six months for three years
FDA Expands Ribociclib Indication in HR-Positive, HER2-Negative Advanced, Metastatic Breast Cancer
On July 18, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the indication for ribociclib (Kisqali) in combination with an aromatase inhibitor for pre/perimenopausal women with HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer, as initial endocrine-based therapy.
Drug Offers Extended Adjuvant Treatment Option for HER2+ Metastatic Breast Cancer
An estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 40,920 related deaths will occur in the United States in 2018. Patients with distant disease have a poorer five-year relative survival rate (26.9%) compared with localized (98.9%) and regional (85.2%) disease. HER2+ breast cancer accounts for approximately 20%–25% of all breast cancer diagnoses, and this type of breast cancer is more common in younger women, decreasing in frequency with age across all stages.
The Case of the CTCAE Assessment for CDK4/6 Adverse Events
Mrs. Jones is a 66-year-old postmenopausal woman who developed left breast pain and a palpable mass. A mammogram and ultrasound showed a 4.6 cm mass with an enlarged axillary node. A core biopsy revealed invasive ductal carcinoma that is estrogen receptor positive, progesterone receptor positive, and HER2 negative. Positron-emission tomography and computed tomography scans revealed metastatic disease.
Childhood Cancer Act Signed Into Law; Study Finds That Many Patients With Breast Cancer Can Skip Chemo; Plan to Lower Drug Prices Could Increase Costs for Some Patients
It’s been a long time coming, but the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research (STAR) Act was finally signed into law on June 6 by President Trump. The act focuses on advancing pediatric cancer research and treatments along with improving screening programs and supporting patients into survivorship. As with many issues in the U.S. capital, the issue had two sides: many healthcare professionals see it as a win to support childhood cancer survivors, but it raised concerns for others about potential coverage issues.
Which Breast Cancers Benefit from Treatment With Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4/6 Inhibitor Treatment?
Which Breast Cancers Benefit from Treatment With Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4/6 Inhibitor Treatment?
A. Newly diagnosed DCIS
B. Metastatic, triple negative
C. Premenopausal, neoadjavant
D. ER+ metastatic
BRCA Mutations Point to Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome
Although all cancers have a genetic basis, a subset result from an inherited (i.e., germline) mutation that puts a person at increased risk for certain cancers. Unfortunately, the signs of hereditary cancer are often overlooked or misunderstood. Here’s what oncology nurses need to know about BRCA mutations, one of the more common mutations you’ll see in practice.
Labs Differ Widely in BRCA Testing Protocols
An international survey of 86 genetic testing labs showed inconsistent protocols and standards for analyzing the BRCA1 or 2 cancer susceptibility genes and their variations. The results were reported in NPJ Genomic Medicine.
Which Is a Breast Cancer Risk Factor?
Test your oncology knowledge with ONS. Which of the following is a risk factor for developing breast cancer?
- Women who are gravida 3 para 2
- Mild to moderate alcohol use
- Absence of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
- Going through menopause prior to age 55
Oncology Nurses Play Key Role in Genetics Education, Testing for Patients
Identifying genetically predisposed women with breast cancer who could benefit from risk assessment and genetic counseling is an important competency for oncology nurses. However, a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) reported that fewer than 50% of newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer who should have been given formal genetic counseling actually received the appropriate genetic testing.
Massage Therapy Helps Manage Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema
Lymphedema, the chronic swelling of a limb resulting from fluid accumulation, is a common sequela of surgery or radiation treatment for breast cancer. Nearly 90% of women who develop lymphedema do so within three years of treatment. Survivors commonly report physical and emotional distress, limitations to daily activities in fear of exacerbating lymphedema, and body image issues because of an abnormally enlarged limb.
FDA Approves Abemaciclib As Initial Therapy for HR-Positive, HER2-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer
On February 26, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved abemaciclib (Verzenio™) in combination with an aromatase inhibitor as initial endocrine-based therapy for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor (HR)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 HER2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer.
FDA Approves Olaparib for Germline BRCA-Mutated Metastatic Breast Cancer
On January 12, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted regular approval to olaparib tablets, a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor, for the treatment of patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline BRCA-mutated (gBRCAm), HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer who have been treated with chemotherapy either in the neoadjuvant, adjuvant, or metastatic setting.
PCORI Helps Patients Choose the Right Breast Cancer Treatment
Many women face a lack of information and understanding after their breast cancer diagnoses. Currently, women have more treatment options than ever before, and patients have the ability to review the latest findings to identify the option that fits best for their lives.
Heart Failure Affects Long-Term Survival Among Older Women With Breast Cancer
Research has shown that women aged 65 and older who have breast cancer experience higher rates of heart failure compared to their age-matched counterparts, ranging from 29% of women with breast cancer who received no chemotherapy to 38% of women who received treatment with anthracyclines. However, little is known about the association between heart failure and long-term survival in older women with breast cancer, and it is unclear how the relative contribution of heart failure to mortality risk varies by breast cancer stage.
Sexual Function Varies by Some Treatments in Breast Cancer Survivors
Surgical modality and receipt of chemotherapy or radiotherapy are not associated with sexual function, as measured by the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). Patients receiving endocrine therapy with an aromatase inhibitor had significantly lower sexual function scores than those who received no endocrine therapy or those on tamoxifen, said a group of U.S. researchers who presented their findings during a poster session on Saturday, December 10, at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Latinas With BRCA1 or 2 Mutations Are More Likely to Choose Surgery
The uptake of prophylactic surgeries among Latinas with germline BRCA mutations may be slightly lower than what has been reported in non-Hispanic whites but higher than in African Americans, a group of U.S. researchers said. They presented their findings on Saturday, December 10, during a poster session at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Supervised Exercise Reduces Fatigue in Patients With Breast Cancer
Exercise—preferably supervised—represents a viable intervention for prevention and treatment of fatigue among patients with breast cancer, a group of Australian, European, and U.S. researchers said. They presented their findings during a poster session on Saturday, December 9, during the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.