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This is an Oncology Podcast that covers three news highlights in breast cancer. The first one, and the most significant, concerns a report from Europe in women with inflammatory breast cancer (expressing the HER2 receptor) that is associated with a very high risk of dying. In a randomized study, researchers found that the complete response rate (that’s right: COMPLETE RESPONSE) in patients who received Herceptin (trastuzumab, Genentech Oncology) plus chemotherapy had a 55% complete response in these HER2+ breast cancers compared to only 19% for those women who had chemotherapy alone. Similar impressive results with Herceptin plus chemotherapy have been reported from UT MD Anderson cancer center in Houston.
The second report here describes FDA approval for a new drug Ixabepilone (Ixempra, Bristol Meyers Squibb) for advanced breast cancer refractory to other forms of chemotherapy.
The third news highlight describes a large study in Germany of 7000 women undergoing breast screening with mammography and breast MRI. The MRI scans were more accurate in detecting breast cancer, but it is a more expensive study and requires skill in interpretation. Breast MRI is used selectively in the United States, especially for women who have an inheritable form of breast cancer (BRAC! and BRAC2)