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Practice-Affirming Data on Immunotherapy, Exciting HER2 Therapy Developments at SABCS

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At the recent San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), one attendee found herself feeling a little mixed about the research presented.

Amye Tevaarwerk, MD, an Associate Professor of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, specializes in breast cancer survivorship and informatics, and hoped for more presentations on these topics this year. However, “there were some interesting abstracts Thursday afternoon looking at extended endocrine therapy and tools that might allow us to better predict who should be looked at for extended endocrine therapy.”

What SABCS did have were some practice-affirming data on immunotherapy and exciting developments in HER2-therapy for Dr. Tevaarwerk. 

“The presentations were exciting but, in my opinion, reaffirms the need to treat patients on immuno-therapy trials rather than off-trial because we really don't understand who will benefit or why,” she says. On the bright side, there is a lot of “really exciting work” in the pipeline, Dr. Tevaarwerk says, figuring out “why immunotherapy might or might not work in breast cancer.” Also on the bright side is research in HER2 targeted therapy and long-term endocrine therapy," says Dr. Tevaarwerk, including tucatinib, capecitabine, and trastuzumab as “a life-changing option for patients who relapse with predominately CNS disease." 

“I’m also really looking forward to better predictive tools to help determine who to treat with the extended endocrine therapy," she says. Something already ready for clinical practice is the CTS5 calculator, which is validated and available as a free calculator online. 

“It seems like something practical and immediately available for to use in clinic when counseling post-menopausal patients we’re considering for extended endocrine therapy, and a promising step in the right direction," Dr. Tevaarwerk says, especially "as we continue to try and personalize the decision about extended endocrine therapy to extract the most benefit but avoid the consequences of long-term estrogen suppression.”

Illustration by Jennifer Bogartz

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