Adjuvant hormonal therapy has been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer recurrence and overall mortality in patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. Tamoxifen has been used in this setting for many years, both in premenopausal and postmenopausal patients. Tamoxifen is not devoid of toxicity, and attempts have been made to develop newer hormonal agents with better efficacy and less toxicity. The aromatase inhibitors have shown equivalent or superior efficacy to tamoxifen in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, and efforts are underway to determine the role of these agents in early breast cancer. The ATAC trial recently showed that use of the third-generation aromatase inhibitor anastrozole in the adjuvant setting led to a modest improvement in relapse-free survival as compared with tamoxifen. Patients treated with anastrozole were also less likely to develop uterine cancer or experience a thromboembolic event. However, patients treated with anastrozole were more likely than those treated with tamoxifen to suffer a fracture or other musculosketal problem. An ASCO technology assessment panel reviewed the relevant data and issued a consensus statement regarding the use of aromatase inhibitors in the adjuvant setting. In general, the panel favored the continued use of tamoxifen as adjuvant hormonal therapy for most postmenopausal women. Within the next few years, further data from the ATAC trial and from other trials of aromatase inhibitors in the adjuvant setting should be available to guide treatment recommendations for this patient population.
Jennifer A. Ligibel and Eric P. Winer
Antonio Di Meglio, Nancy U. Lin, Rachel A. Freedman, William T. Barry, Eric P. Winer, and Ines Vaz-Luis
Background: When monitoring patients with metastatic breast cancer (mBC), the optimal strategies for imaging and utilization of tumor markers (TM) are uncertain. Patients and Methods: We used a retrospective cohort of 302 patients with de novo mBC treated from 2000 to 2012 at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to describe the type and timing of imaging and TM testing during the first line of treatment (baseline, first, and subsequent testing). Results: At baseline, all patients had staging scans, with increasing use of PET/PET-CT (17.5% from 2000–2002; 40.3% from 2009–2012). PET/PET-CT was used by itself in only 12.5% of cases. Overall, 30.1% of patients, of whom 80.2% had no neurologic symptoms, underwent central nervous system (CNS) screening; 78.2% of patients had baseline TM testing. Over the course of treatment, 23.5% of patients had TM retested once a month or more. Time-to-first reimaging varied by disease site (hazard ratios for shorter time-to-first reimaging [95% CI] vs bone: brain, 4.27 [1.46–12.50]; liver, 2.19 [1.39–3.46]; lung, 2.75 [1.66–4.57]), but was not associated with tumor subtype or baseline TM testing, regardless of test results. First reimaging was prompted by an elevation in TM in only 1.4% of cases. There was weak correlation between frequency of imaging and TM tests (r=0.33; R2=0.11; P<.001). Discussion: Over time, we found an increased utilization of more sophisticated imaging staging techniques, such as PET/PET-CT scan, which was mostly requested in addition to other radiographic studies. CNS evaluations were frequently performed to screen asymptomatic patients. TM testing was often ordered, both at baseline and after treatment initiation. However, patterns of imaging utilization, although appropriately influenced by clinicopathologic factors such as disease site, did not appear to be impacted by TM testing. Conclusions: Studies focused on optimizing disease monitoring, including better integration of TM testing with imaging, are encouraged.
Davinia S.E. Seah, Ines Vaz Luis, Erin Macrae, Jessica Sohl, Georgia Litsas, Eric P. Winer, Nancy U. Lin, and Harold J. Burstein
Benefits of chemotherapy vary in patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). This article describes the impact of tumor subtype and the line of therapy on the duration of chemotherapy. Clinicopathologic characteristics were extracted from the medical records of 199 consecutive patients with MBC at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and analyzed according to subtype. Tumor subtypes were classified as hormone receptor (HR)-positive, triple-negative (TNBC), or HER2-amplified breast cancer. Duration of chemotherapy of each line was defined as the start of a chemotherapy regimen to the start of the next line of therapy as a result of progression or toxicity. There were 96, 44, and 59 patients with HR+, TNBC, and HER2-amplified breast cancer, respectively. Median age at MBC diagnosis was 53 years. Median overall survivals were 32 and 54 months for HER2-amplified disease, 36 months for HR+ breast cancer, and 17 months for TNBC (P<.0001). Patients with HER2-amplified disease received the most lines (median, 4; P=.032) and the longest duration of chemotherapy for every line. The median duration of chemotherapy in HER2-amplified patients remained at more than 4 months even out to sixth-line therapy. Patients with TNBC tended to receive the shortest duration of chemotherapy for every line of therapy. Tumor subtypes influence the number of lines, duration of chemotherapy, and survival. Among patients with HR+ and HER2-amplified disease who undergo chemotherapy beyond the third line, substantial rates of prolonged therapies suggest clinical benefit. The role of advanced (greater than third) chemotherapy lines in improving survival of all patients with MBC warrants further study.
Robert W. Carlson, Susan Moench, Arti Hurria, Lodovico Balducci, Harold J. Burstein, Lori J. Goldstein, William J. Gradishar, Kevin S. Hughes, Mohammad Jahanzeb, Stuart M. Lichtman, Lawrence B. Marks, Joan S. McClure, Beryl McCormick, Lisle M. Nabell, Lori J. Pierce, Mary Lou Smith, Neal S. Topham, Tiffany A. Traina, John H. Ward, and Eric P. Winer
Breast cancer is common in older women, and the segment of the U.S. population aged 65 years and older is growing rapidly. Consequently, awareness is increasing of the need to identify breast cancer treatment recommendations to assure optimal, individualized treatment of older women with breast cancer. However, the development of these recommendations is limited by the heterogeneous nature of this population with respect to functional status, social support, life expectancy, and the presence of comorbidities, and by the underrepresentation of older patients with breast cancer in randomized clinical trials. The NCCN Breast Cancer in the Older Woman Task Force was convened to provide a forum for framing relevant questions on topics that impact older women with early-stage, locally advanced, and metastatic breast cancer. The task force is a multidisciplinary panel of 18 experts in breast cancer representing medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, geriatric oncology, geriatrics, plastic surgery, and patient advocacy. All task force members were from NCCN institutions and were identified and invited solely by NCCN. Members were charged with identifying evidence relevant to their specific expertise. During a 2-day meeting, individual members provided didactic presentations; these presentations were followed by extensive discussions during which areas of consensus and controversy were identified on topics such as defining the “older” breast cancer patient; geriatric assessment tools in the oncology setting; attitudes of older patients with breast cancer and their physicians; tumor biology in older versus younger women with breast cancer; implementation of specific interventions in older patients with breast cancer, such as curative surgery, surgical axillary staging, radiation therapy, reconstructive surgery, endocrine therapy, chemotherapy, HER2-directed therapy, and supportive therapies; and areas requiring future studies. (JNCCN 2008;6[Suppl 4]:S1–S25)
Robert W. Carlson, Elizabeth Brown, Harold J. Burstein, William J. Gradishar, Clifford A. Hudis, Charles Loprinzi, Eleftherios Paul Mamounas, Edith A. Perez, Kathleen Pritchard, Peter Ravdin, Abram Recht, George Somlo, Richard L. Theriault, Eric P. Winer, Antonio C. Wolff, and for the NCCN Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer Task Force
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) first published the NCCN Breast Cancer Treatment Guidelines in 1996. The Guidelines address the treatment of all stages of breast cancer across the spectrum of patient care and have been updated yearly. Adjuvant therapy for breast cancer has undergone an especially rapid evolution over the past few years. Therefore, the NCCN Breast Cancer Guidelines Panel was supplemented by additional experts to form the Adjuvant Therapy Task Force to provide a forum for an extended discussion and expanded input to the adjuvant therapy recommendations for the Breast Cancer Treatment Guidelines. Issues discussed included methods of risk-stratification for recurrence; how biologic markers such as HER2 status, quantitative estrogen receptor, or genetic markers can be incorporated as prognostic or predictive factors; and how age, menopausal status, and estrogen receptor levels impact benefits from chemotherapy and endocrine therapy. Additionally, the task force discussed the strategies for use of aromatase inhibitors in postmenopausal women and the potential incorporation of trastuzumab into adjuvant therapy of women with HER2/neu positive breast cancer. This supplement summarizes the background data and ensuing discussion from the Adjvuant Task Force meeting. (JNCCN 2006;4[suppl 1]:S-1–S-26)
Robert W. Carlson, Susan J. Moench, M. Elizabeth H. Hammond, Edith A. Perez, Harold J. Burstein, D. Craig Allred, Charles L. Vogel, Lori J. Goldstein, George Somlo, William J. Gradishar, Clifford A. Hudis, Mohammad Jahanzeb, Azadeh Stark, Antonio C. Wolff, Michael F. Press, Eric P. Winer, Soonmyung Paik, Britt-Marie Ljung, and for the NCCN HER2 Testing in Breast Cancer Task Force
The NCCN HER2 Testing in Breast Cancer Task Force was convened to critically evaluate the ability of the level of HER2 expression or gene amplification in breast cancer tumors to serve as a prognostic and a predictive factor in the metastatic and adjuvant settings, to assess the reliability of the methods of measuring HER2 expression or gene amplification in the laboratory, and to make recommendations regarding the interpretation of test results. The Task Force is a multidisciplinary panel of 24 experts in breast cancer representing the disciplines of medical oncology, pathology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, epidemiology, and patient advocacy. Invited members included members of the NCCN Breast Cancer Panel and other needed experts selected solely by the NCCN. During a 2-day meeting, individual task force members provided didactic presentations critically evaluating important aspects of HER2 biology and epidemiology: HER2 as a prognostic and predictive factor; results from clinical trials in which trastuzumab was used as a targeted therapy against HER2 in the adjuvant and metastatic settings; the available testing methodologies for HER2, including sensitivity, specificity, and ability to provide prognostic and predictive information; and the principles on which HER2 testing should be based. Each task force member was charged with identifying evidence relevant to their specific expertise and presentation. Following the presentations, an evidence-based consensus approach was used to formulate recommendations relating to the pathologic and clinical application of the evidence to breast cancer patient evaluation and care. In areas of controversy, this process extended beyond the meeting to achieve consensus. The Task Force concluded that accurate assignment of the HER2 status of invasive breast cancer is essential to clinical decision making in the treatment of breast cancer in both adjuvant and metastatic settings. Formal validation and concordance testing should be performed and reported by laboratories performing HER2 testing for clinical purposes. If appropriate quality control/ assurance procedures are in place, either immunohistochemistry (IHC) or fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) methods may be used. A tumor with an IHC score of 0 or1+, an average HER2 gene/chromosome 17 ratio of less than 1.8, or an average number of HER2 gene copies/cell of 4 or less as determined by FISH is considered to be HER2 negative. A tumor with an IHC score of 3+, an average HER2 gene/chromosome 17 ratio of greater than 2.2 by FISH, or an average number of HER2 gene copies/cell of 6 or greater is considered HER2 positive. A tumor with an IHC score of 2+ should be further tested using FISH, with HER2 status determined by the FISH result. Tumor samples with an average HER2 gene/chromosome ratio of 1.8 to 2.2 or average number of HER2 gene copies/cell in the range of greater than 4 to less than 6 are considered to be borderline, and strategies to assign the HER2 status of such samples are proposed. (JNCCN 2006;4(Suppl 3):S1–S22)