Reviewing Breakthroughs in Breast Cancer in Raleigh

We traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina, for a State of the Science Summit™ on Breast Cancer, which featured insights from the Duke Cancer Institute faculty.

We recently traveled to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina for a State of the Science Summit™ on Breast Cancer. At the meeting, faculty from Duke Cancer Institute explained how prognostic and predictive assays are being used to guide treatment decisions in breast cancer, provided perspective on the optimal use of HER2-targeted therapy, antibody-drug conjugates, PARP inhibitors, and CDK4/6 inhibitors, and reflected on ongoing research regarding immunotherapy.

Kicking off the night was Paul Kelly Marcom, MD, a professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine and member of Duke Cancer Institute, who spoke to the role of genomic testing in breast cancer. In our interview, Marcom said that the evolution of genomic testing has allowed for more accurate patient selection for targeted therapies in breast cancer based on identifiable molecular abnormalties. He added that the use of these assays still holds further potential.

Next, we sat down with Jeremy Force, DO, a medical oncologist and assistant professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine. Ever-expanding immunotherapeutic approaches and other novel strategies could signal a change in treatment for patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, said Force. In our interview, Force discussed current and emerging immunotherapy options in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer as well as ongoing challenges in the space.

Next, we spoke with Gretchen G. Kimmick, MD, MS, a medical oncologist at Duke Cancer Center, who explained that the management of patients with early-stage hormone receptor—positive, HER2-negative breast cancer is changing in that the majority of treatment decisions are based on genomic profiles. Furthermore, she said that the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines were updated earlier this year to reflect the increasing importance of a patient’s risk of recurrence in guiding these treatment strategies.

There has been overwhelming interest in CDK4/6 inhibitors as a treatment modality following impressive progression-free survival data, and now, overall survival data, with palbociclib, ribociclib, and abemaciclib in patients with advanced hormone receptor—positive, HER2-negative breast cancer, said Sarah Sammons, MD. Listen on to hear how Sammons, a medical oncologist, assistant professor of medicine, member of the Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University School of Medicine, is navigating treatment selection with these agents in this patient population.

Next, Kelly E. Westbrook, MD, shed light on key advances and practice-changing data that have surfaced in the management of patients with early-stage and advanced HER2-positive breast cancer. In our interview, Westbrook, a medical oncologist and member of the Duke Cancer Institute, and an assistant professor at Duke University School of Medicine, discussed the use of HER2-targeted therapy, antibody-drug conjugates, and investigational combination strategies that could improve outcomes and delay resistance.

In spite of these novel approaches, about one-third of patients with advanced HER2-positive disease will develop brain metastasis, said Carey K. Anders, MD. Broadening clinical trial eligibility critieria has provided more patients with brain metastases with access to targeted agents that are showing promising blood-brain barrier penetrability, said Anders. In our interview, Anders, director of the Brain and Spine Metastasis Program at Duke Cancer Institute, discussed current approaches in the management of patients with breast cancer that has metastasized to the brain.

Finally, Susan Faye Dent, MD, a medical oncologist, professor of medicine, associate director of Breast Cancer Clinical Research, and co-director of the cardio-oncology program at Duke University, sat down with us to discuss the importance of cardiac health in patients with breast cancer. In our interview, Dent said that patients with breast cancer are living longer as a result of significant treatment advances being made; however, with that comes an increased risk of short- and long-term adverse events. As such, exercise, cardiovascular risk assessment, close monitoring of high-risk patients, and collaboration between oncologists and cardiologists have become essential elements of patient care. Listen on to hear from Dent about the growing and maturing field of cardio-oncology.

That’s all we have for today! Thank you for listening to OncLive On Air. Check back on Wednesdays for new interviews from our State of the Science Summits™.

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