Authors: Jade Parker, Editor
The rollout of more effective and affordable screening programs alongside advancements in treatment options has resulted in declining death rates in breast cancer over the last few decades. Yet, despite this, breast cancer remains the most common type of cancer in women globally: approximately 1.7 million new cases were diagnosed in 2012 and breast cancer continues to rank as the fifth-largest cause of death from cancer overall .
In this article we explore the five biggest advancements that have been made in the field over the last year. We’d also love to hear your thoughts; let us know in the comments section below if you agree with our selection, or if you think a different research highlight should have made it into our top 5 list!
Targeted therapies: PARP inhibitors
A highlight from American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) this year (2–5 June 2017, IL, USA) was the OlympiAD trial data. This Phase III clinical trial compared PARP inhibitor (olaparib) monotherapy with standard therapy in approximately 300 patients with a germline BRCA mutation and HER2–negative metastatic breast cancer. Data from the study demonstrated that olaparib provided a significant benefit over standard therapy, reduced the chance of progression of advanced BRCA-related breast cancer by 42%, and delayed progression by 2.8 months [2, 3].
ASCO President Daniel F Hayes commented on the significance of the findings : “These long-awaited findings show that this new class of treatment can deliver better results for women with BRCA-positive breast cancer. What’s remarkable is that we are now able to not only tailor breast cancer treatment based on the genetic changes in the tumor but also on the inherited factors driving its development.”
Following this promising news, researchers are now exploring whether these PARP inhibitors could also be used in different subsets of breast cancer, such as triple negative breast cancer .
Want to find out more about PARP inhibitors?
Pre-pectoral implant-based surgery, which works by placing the implant directly under the skin and over the muscle, has gained popularity due to its more minimal approach compared with traditional breast reconstruction methods.