Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatment Challenges - Episode 18

Conclusion and Final Thoughts on Managing Breast Cancer

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In the final segment, moderator, Adam M. Brufsky, MD, PhD, asks each panelist for their final thoughts on the management of metastatic breast cancer. Sara Hurvitz, MD, notes her excitement over the number of therapeutic options available to treat patients with HER2 and ER-positive breast cancer, particularly since many of these treatments have less toxicity.

The depth of understanding of tumor microenvironments and biology in breast cancer is due to a global collaboration among researchers, states Edith A. Perez, MD. Additionally, she believes, panel discussions, like this one, help to translate research into clinical practice.

Significant advances have been made in recent years in the treatment of patients with ER-positive disease, believes Hope S. Rugo, MD. Additionally, the therapies developed to treat metastatic disease are beginning to transition into the early-stage setting, representing a significant increase in the number of neoadjuvant treatments. Furthermore, Rugo adds, there is now a better understanding of the subtypes of ER-positive and overcoming resistance, which has improved outcomes for patients.

The level of competition in this space has resulted in the rapid development of novel treatments, says Joyce A. O'Shaughnessy, MD. Therapies have advanced from phase I trials quickly into phase III. In the end, this rapid development greatly benefits patients with this disease.

The treatment of breast cancer is at a tipping point, now that the biology of intrinsic subtypes has been revealed, states Andrew D. Seidman, MD. The level of molecular knowledge allows for the rational development of targeted therapeutics and combinations that avoid feedback looks that overcome therapeutic efficacy, Seidman states. Echoing this, Brufsky notes this is the beginning of the genomic era of our understanding of breast cancer, which may have implications for clinical trial design.