This week, I will be among the 7,500 people from more than 90 countries attending the 36th San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. As a first-time attendee, I am glad to be the company of conference veteran, MBCN President Shirley Mertz.
According to the event organizers, “The Symposium aims to achieve a balance of clinical, translational, and basic research, providing a forum for interaction, communication, and education for a broad spectrum of researchers, health professionals, and those with a special interest in breast cancer.”
For me, this is an excellent opportunity to hear cutting-edge presentations in the company of some of the most respected academic and private physicians and researchers as well as to meet other advocates, including some members of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance. All of the major pharmaceutical companies are also here.
Medscape journalist Nick Mulcahy predicts metastatic and HER2-positive disease developments will dominate SABC 2013. Of the metastatic presentations, he writes:
Clinicians will hear about a prospective randomized trial from India that should clarify whether or not surgery and radiation are beneficial in women with metastatic disease who respond to chemotherapy (presentation S2-02).
A second randomized trial from Turkey compares women with metastatic disease who received locoregional treatment for the intact primary tumor with those who did not receive such treatment (presentation S2-03).
Another study looks at whether or not a leukemia drug improves disease progression in metastatic disease (presentation S3-07). That drug, dasatinib (Sprycel,Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka America), was added to standard antihormone therapy with letrozole in women with hormone-receptor-positive HER2-negative metastatic disease in a phase 2 trial.
Clinicians will also learn whether or not circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood are a good marker for making treatment decisions in metastatic disease after first-line chemotherapy (presentation S5-07).
Source: “SABCS May Clarify Some BIG Breast Cancer Issues” (registration required)
Mulcahy further cites screening mammography as a hot topic at SABC. In addition to a review and re-examination of data from 4 large screening studies (presentation S1-10) attendees can attend a plenary lecture on screening mammography and overdiagnosis given by Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH, from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. (Dr. Welch was among those quoted in Peggy Orenstein’s “Feel Good War on Breast Cancer,” it will be interesting to hear him in person and to see how the mammography debate plays out here.)