Oestrogen receptor-positive (ER(+)) breast cancer is a major cause of cancer death in women. Although aromatase inhibitors suppress the function of ER and reduce the risk of recurrence, therapeutic resistance is common and essentially inevitable in advanced disease. This Review considers both genomic and cell biological explanations as to why ER(+) breast cancer cells persist, progress and cause an incurable, lethal, systemic disease. The design and outcomes of clinical trials are considered with the perspective that resistance mechanisms are heterogeneous, and therefore biomarker and somatic mutation-based stratification and eligibility will be essential for improvements in patient outcomes.
Bleomycin is a chemotherapeutic agent commonly used to treat curable diseases such as germinative tumors and Hodgkin's lymphoma. The major limitation of bleomycin therapy is pulmonary toxicity, which can be life threatening in up to 10% of patients receiving the drug. The mechanism of bleomycin-induced pneumonitis (BIP) involves oxidative damage, relative deficiency of the deactivating enzyme bleomycin hydrolase, genetic susceptibility, and the elaboration of inflammatory cytokines. Ultimately, BIP can progress to lung fibrosis. The diagnosis of BIP is established by the combination of systemic symptoms, radiological and histological findings, and respiratory function tests abnormalities, while other disorders should be excluded. Although the diagnosis and pathophysiology of this disease have been better characterized over the past few years, there is no effective therapy for the disease. In general, the clinical picture is extremely complex. A greater understanding of the BIP pathogenesis may lead to the development of new agents capable of preventing or even treating the injury already present. Physicians who prescribe bleomycin must be aware of the potential pulmonary toxicity, especially in the presence of risk factors. This review will focus on BIP, mainly regarding recent advances and perspectives in diagnosis and treatment.
Hormone receptor positive tumors represent the most common form of breast cancer and account for most of the deaths from the disease. Endocrine therapy represents the main initial therapeutic strategy for these patients and has been associated with significant clinical benefits in a majority of patients. While in early stages endocrine therapy is administered as part of a curative approach once clinical metastases develop, the disease is considered incurable and the main management objectives are tumor control and quality of life. The two major clinical paradigms of always indicating endocrine therapy in the absence of visceral crises and sequencing endocrine treatments have been guiding our therapeutic approach to these patients. However, for many decades, we have delivered endocrine therapy with a 'one size fits all' approach by applying agents that interfere with hormone receptor signaling equally in every clinical patient scenario. We have been unable to incorporate the well-known biologic principle of different degrees of hormone receptor dependency in our therapeutic recommendations. Recent developments in the understanding of molecular interactions of hormone signaling with other important growth factor, metabolic and cell division pathways have opened the possibility of improving results by modulating hormone signaling and interfering with resistance mechanisms yet to be fully understood. Unfortunately, limitations in the design of trials conducted in this area have made it difficult to develop predictive biomarkers and most of the new combinations with targeted agents, even though showing improvements in clinical endpoints, have been directed to an unselected population of patients. In this review we explore some of the current and most relevant literature in the management of hormone receptor positive advance breast cancer.
PURPOSE The COVID-19 pandemic remains a public health emergency of global concern. Determinants of mortality in the general population are now clear, but specific data on patients with cancer remain limited, particularly in Latin America. MATERIALS AND METHODS A longitudinal multicenter cohort study of patients with cancer and confirmed COVID-19 from Oncoclínicas community oncology practice in Brazil was conducted. The primary end point was all-cause mortality after isolation of the SARS-CoV-2 by Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) in patients initially diagnosed in an outpatient environment. We performed univariate and multivariable logistic regression analysis and recursive partitioning modeling to define the baseline clinical determinants of death in the overall population. RESULTS From March 29 to July 4, 2020, 198 patients with COVID-19 were prospectively registered in the database, of which 167 (84%) had solid tumors and 31 (16%) had hematologic malignancies. Most patients were on active systemic therapy or radiotherapy (77%), largely for advanced or metastatic disease (64%). The overall mortality rate was 16.7% (95% CI, 11.9 to 22.7). In univariate models, factors associated with death after COVID-19 diagnosis were age ≥ 60 years, current or former smoking, coexisting comorbidities, respiratory tract cancer, and management in a noncurative setting ( P < .05). In multivariable logistic regression and recursive partitioning modeling, only age, smoking history, and noncurative disease setting remained significant determinants of mortality, ranging from 1% in cancer survivors under surveillance or (neo)adjuvant therapy to 60% in elderly smokers with advanced or metastatic disease. CONCLUSION Mortality after COVID-19 in patients with cancer is influenced by prognostic factors that also affect outcomes of the general population. Fragile patients and smokers are entitled to active preventive measures to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and close monitoring in the case of exposure or COVID-19-related symptoms.
Hormone receptor-positive breast cancer is the most frequent breast cancer subtype. Endocrine therapy (ET) targeting the estrogen receptor (ER) pathway represents the main initial therapeutic approach. The major strategies include estrogen deprivation and the use of selective estrogen modulators or degraders, which show efficacy in the management of metastatic and early-stage disease. However, clinical resistance associated with progression of disease remains a significant therapeutic challenge. Mutations of the ESR1 gene, which encodes the ER, have been increasingly recognized as an important mechanism of ET resistance, with a prevalence that ranges from 11 to 39%. The majority of these mutations are located within the ligand-binding domain and result in an estrogen-independent constitutive activation of the ER and, therefore, resistance to estrogen deprivation therapy such as aromatase inhibition. ESR1 mutations, most often detected from liquid biopsies, have been consistently associated with a worse outcome and are being currently evaluated as a potential biomarker to guide therapeutic decisions. At the same time, targeted therapy directed to ESR1-mutated clones is an appealing concept with preclinical and clinical work in progress.
Breast cancer is a major global health problem and major cause of mortality. Although mortality trends are declining in high-income countries, trends are increasing in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Addressing global breast cancer research is a challenging endeavor, as notable disparities and extremely heterogeneous realities exist in different regions across the world. Basic global cancer health care needs have been addressed by the World Health Organization's (WHO) proposed list of essential medicines and by resource-stratified guidelines for screening and treatment. However, specific strategies are needed to address disparities in access to health care, particularly access to new therapies. Discussions about global research in breast cancer should take into account the ongoing globalization of clinical trials. Collaboration fostered by well-established research organizations in North America and Europe is essential for the development of infrastructure and human resources in LMICs so that researchers in these countries can begin to address regional questions. Specific challenges that impact the future of global breast cancer research include increasing the availability of trials in LMICs, developing strategies to increase patient participation in clinical trials, and creation of clear guidelines for the development of real-world evidence-based research. The main objective of this review is to encourage the discussion of challenges in global breast cancer research with the hope that collectively we will be able to generate workable proposals to advance the field.
Provision of high-level healthcare is a challenge for all low- to middle-income countries (LMICs) since healthcare systems are heterogeneous, face many challenges such as inadequate funding, inequitable distribution of resources and services and usually are not adequately equipped to deal with a huge problem such as breast cancer. The development of anti-HER2 therapies can be considered one of the most important examples of the translation of molecular biology knowledge into clinical benefits for cancer patients. While a variety of novel therapeutic strategies are emerging, current treatment regimens remain focussed on targeted therapy with monoclonal antibodies, mainly trastuzumab, the first agent developed in this field. While these results have revolutionised the outcome of HER2+ patients in clinical trials and in high-income countries where they are widely available, results have not impacted the natural history of this aggressive disease in most of the world. Unfortunately, the availability of these drugs is far from universal in many LMICs, and in Latin America, in particular, patients with HER2+ breast cancer are treated exclusively with standard chemotherapy, a more toxic and less efficient therapy. While the complexity of the situation and the multiple factors that have an impact in this scenario are recognised, we need to map the future and develop feasible strategies to address possible solutions to the problem of drug access. A clear and unbiased diagnosis of the situation is a good starting point. Defining healthcare priorities and a clear strategy for the allocation of resources is difficult but mandatory. In this article, we will discuss current and future challenges regarding access (and lack of access) to high-cost cancer drugs in Latin America, with a focus on anti-HER2 therapies.
Objectives: Identify the main changes in the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of women diagnosed with breast cancer (BC) undergoing chemotherapy.Methods: Prospective cohort study that included 33 women diagnosed with clinical stages I-III BC and who underwent adjuvant chemotherapy. HRQoL was assessed using the EORTC QLQ-C30 and EORTC QLQ-BR23 instruments 1 week before the start of chemotherapy and during the third month of chemotherapy. Results:There was a decline in the HRQoL scores of patients during treatment. Therefore, chemotherapy alters the patient's perceptions of their HRQoL since there is a decrease in global health status/quality of life (QoL) and functional scales such as physical functioning, role functioning, emotional functioning, social functioning, body image, sexual function and sexual enjoyment. We also observed an increase in side effects related to the systemic therapy, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, appetite loss and diarrhoea, despite a decrease in breast symptoms and arm symptoms. Conclusions:HRQoL was negatively affected during chemotherapy. Even though HRQoL assessment is a useful method for optimising patients' care, its implementation into clinical practice remains a challenge. Since side effects are very often underestimated, we consider that the evaluation of HRQoL parameters should be done for BC patients treated with chemotherapy.
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