Thursday, January 20, 2011

Treatment options for breast cancer

Thwarted again. I wanted to listen to the doctor who is doing research on triple negative BC in African Americans trying to find the founder gene in Ghana. She was supposed to speak last month but her talk was rescheduled for last night. However she was replaced by another physician who spoke about treatment options for advanced breast cancer. I resisted the urge to walk out and listened to what this woman had to say. She was a good speaker.

Things that I learned.
A new estrogen blocker was recently approved to replace aromatase inhibitors for the  prevention of estrogen positive recurrences in women with non-functioning ovaries,  Faslodex. Upside: does not have the severity of bone and joint pain that the AIs have. Downside: needs to be injected monthly and the injections are painful.

Carbo and cis platins probably more effective against TNBC than the anthracyclines (such as my friend Adriamycin aka Red Devil). Aside from the cardiotoxicity, the Red Devil causes leukemia in 1% of its patients.

Herceptin: This oncologist believes this to be the wonder drug saving the 25% of BC patients who are Her2 positive. Her2 positives have excess copies of a gene that causes their cancers to grow. But doesn't all BC have this gene? Yes they do. Furthermore, there is no cut and dry line between being a Her2 positive or negative. There is a continuum. Maybe it would help patients who are not 'strongly' Her2 positive. Maybe it would help others. According to the Susan Love book, Herceptin has helped women who were initially falsely designated as positives but then when their samples were retested with the new FISH test, found to be negatives.

So it is still cold out and will be for at least a week. I am not a fan of winter.

On tap for today: If it isn't too icy, run outside and help Naomi study. Mom's night out tonight.

No comments:


Blog Archive