New findings in breast cancer

By Vanessa deGier

Clinical researchers from the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center will present new research findings during the 44th American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, taking place in Chicago May 30-June 3.

Prominent breast cancer researcher Hope Rugo, MD, will present information on early clinical trial findings related to two forms of breast cancer:   

## Early Stage Breast Cancer

Preliminary findings from a UCSF pilot study to evaluate an adjuvant therapy in the treatment of early stage breast cancer suggest the therapy is effective against tumors.  Adjuvant therapy is treatment given after the primary treatment to increase the chances of a cure. In this study, findings show that the therapy-which uses the drug zoledronic acid—decreased the number of disseminated tumor cells present in the bone marrow of women with early stage breast cancer.  The study also shows that detection of disseminated tumor cells in bone marrow is feasible in patients with early stage breast cancer and a high baseline of these cells can predict risk of distant cancer recurrence. 

## Metastatic Breast Cancer

Updated results from a phase 2 trial involving women with HER2+ metastatic breast cancer show that combining the cancer drug lapatinib with another drug treatment, bevacizumab, is well tolerated in this group of breast cancer patients. Results suggest the drug lapatinib may also have less cardiac toxicity and may be a safer and more effective alternative to trastuzumab, a drug that also shows promise in combination with bevacizumab but has a higher incidence of cardiac toxicity in patients. 

Dr. Rugo is the director of the Breast Oncology Clinical Trials Program, UCSF Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center, and clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. 

The overall theme of this year’s meeting addresses challenges and opportunities confronting cancer professionals and how advances in clinical and translational science can reduce the burden of cancer. More than 35,000 cancer clinicians, researchers, policy makers and advocates are expected to attend.

## Media Contacts: 

For expert opinion or to interview Dr. Rugo or other UCSF researchers about presentations during or after the meeting, please contact Vanessa deGier in the UCSF News Office at (415) 476-2557. Additional information about the meeting can be obtained through the ASCO Communications Office at (703) 519-1423.

## About the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center:

UCSF was designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute in 1999 in recognition of the highest level of excellence in both its scientific research and its ability to integrate diverse research approaches to focus on the problem of cancer and improve patient outcomes. The Center ranks firstin California and sixth nationwide in National Cancer Institute research grants and is home to pioneers in research into genetic, cellular and immune system causes and responses to cancer.

Among its many subspecialties, the Center includes flagship programs in breast, brain and prostate cancer. The Center is a leader in novel laboratory-based and clinical research and maintains programs that focus on cancer prevention, control, and population sciences.

## About ASCO:

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is a non-profit organization, founded in 1964, with overarching goals of improving cancer care and prevention and ensuring that all patients with cancer receive care of the highest quality. More than 25,000 oncology practitioners belong to ASCO, representing all oncology disciplines (medical, radiological, and surgical oncology) and subspecialties. Members include physicians and health-care professionals participating in approved oncology training programs, oncology nurses, and other practitioners with a predominant interest in oncology.