Breast cancer represents a significant public health burden—it is the most common cancer in women and the second most common cause of death in women in the United States. Advances in the diagnosis and management of breast cancer have resulted in improved survival. The introduction of novel therapies for the treatment of both newly diagnosed and metastatic breast cancer (MBC) has contributed to this decline.
Although the treatment of MBC has improved dramatically over the past decades, resistance to chemotherapy still presents a significant obstacle in patient care. Anthracyclines and, more recently, taxanes have been the standard therapy in patients with recurrent MBC. Because of the increase in use of anthracyclines and taxanes as therapy for early stage breast cancer, many patients’ tumors are resistant to these agents by the time the tumor becomes metastatic. Additionally, even when these treatment options can be used in the MBC setting, treatment failure occurs in most cases. As a result, the overall survival rates when using taxanes and/or anthracyclines are relatively low.
Recently, newer agents, such as the microtubule-targeting eribulin and ixabepilone, have shown improved overall survival with less toxicity and improved quality of life. However, not all healthcare providers are knowledgeable about newer treatment options, or when to use them. An analysis of about 2000 patient cases, presented at the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, showed that community practitioners are recommending newly approved agents substantially less frequently than are expert oncologists.
Join our experts as they discuss advances in breast cancer research, detection, and treatment, as well as the various professional cancer guidelines available and how to implement management recommendations in clinical practice.