Developments that will change breast cancer’s history

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Developments that will change breast cancer’s history

καρκίνος του μαστού

Research does not stop at further improving the breast cancer’s prognosis, the most common form of cancer. Advances in breast surgery techniques, monoclonal antibody therapies, conjugated monoclonal antibodies, immunotherapy, lower dose chemotherapy, targeted therapies (target therapy) are the future of breast cancer’s treatment.

The scientific community is putting a lot of effort into improving the already excellent results. It is necessary to take into account the following aspects:

  • breast cancer is the most common form of cancer
  • every year it affects many women under 40 years of age.

Studies are very important for the development of new treatments for breast cancer, as this can result in very positive results for patients.

Breast cancer’s research results

Today, much of the attention given by researchers to breast cancer is focused on the triple-negative subtype (between 15 and 20% of new cases) and the treatment of metastatic disease (regardless of its biological characteristics). Life expectancy for a woman with metastatic disease has nearly tripled. In fact, immunotherapy is important in the treatment of triple negative breast cancer. Additionally 4 out of 10 patients with this subtype of the disease have low expression of the HER2 Receptor, not absent. This could allow us to offer them treatment with anti-Her2 conjugated antibodies soon. This option is being evaluated in combination with chemotherapy in patients with a higher risk of recurrence, but in the future it could be an important treatment in triple-negative breast cancer.

The benefits of immunotherapy

Another of the advantages highlighted by the research is that immunotherapy may also have an important place in breast cancer’s treatment, especially for the most aggressive form (triple negative cancer), which until a few years ago was almost impossible to treat. . The triple negative subtype is a form of cancer that has a large number of mutations and is therefore more likely to be recognized and attacked by the immune system .

For this reason, chemotherapy is combined with immunotherapy that aims to strengthen the immune system, preventing abnormal cell growth. The discovery of new biomarkers expressed in this subtype will lead to the creation of new therapeutic antibodies.

At the local level, chemotherapy prepares the ground by helping the concentration of lymphocytes and macrophages in the area of ​​disease.

Metastatic breast cancer: the spectrum of potential treatments is expanding

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, research is looking for new therapeutic approaches for all metastatic forms of breast cancer

Most metastatic breast cancers have hormone receptors (70% of new diagnoses) or are Her2 positive. Effective treatments (chemotherapy, hormone therapy and monoclonal antibodies) already exist for these types of cancer, but the problem that needs to be addressed is the resistance of the tumor to the treatments. Oral therapies are at this point important innovations, intended to be supportive of hormone therapy for women with metastatic disease, says Breast Surgeon Dr. Ioanna Galanou.

The aim of the research is to detect the presence of a mutated gene that codes for the estrogen receptor. In this way, we could identify women who are at increased risk of developing resistance to hormone therapy from the time of diagnosis, so that they can then be treated with the new medication.

Conjugated antibodies can also be part of this treatment strategy: they were created for the treatment of triple-negative and Her2-positive breast cancer and have already been shown to be effective even in forms that, although positive for hormone receptors, are more aggressive.

Less chemotherapy, with similar effectiveness against breast cancer

Chemotherapy remains very important in reducing the risk of breast cancer recurrence. In some cases, however, it may be possible to reduce doses without compromising effectiveness. Confirmation, in the case of low-risk Her2-positive tumors, came from a study published in The Lancet Oncology journal, which showed that reducing chemotherapy to three months has no impact on survival at ten years (94.3% in the study).

Oncologists also aim to develop studies that evaluate the effectiveness of tapering treatments for all types of cancer in order to reduce the toxicity of treatment regimens.