Breast Cancer: Carboplatin Yields Fabulous Results for Triple Negative Type

cancer management

The results of several studies reported at the 2013 San Antonio (USA) Breast Cancer Symposium are potentially practice-changing. Let’s look at one of those reports: Carboplatin as a neoadjuvant therapy for triple negative (estrogen receptor negative, progesterone receptor negative, HER2 overexpression negative) breast cancer. Those with this subtype of breast cancer received a regimen that included the chemotherapy drug carboplatin. The odds of a pathologic complete response (disappearance of all signs of cancer (under the microscope) in the breast were 60% (compared to 46% for those not receiving this drug as a part of chemotherapy).

My Take: The role of the so-called platinum drug carboplatin as chemotherapy for “triple negative” breast cancer has been debated for many years. We finally have a randomized trial showing that carboplatin clearly increases the pathologic complete response. I think that this study will likely change how patients with this breast cancer subtype are managed, at least when chemotherapy is given before surgery. Still, we do not have long-term data to prove that this improved pathologic complete response rate translates into higher relapse-free numbers, or improved survival. Great study, and good news for those with this particularly risky type of breast cancer. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad:  Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minute; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.

Reference: Sikov WM, et al. Impact of the addition of carboplatin and/or bevacizumab to neoadjuvant weekly paclitaxel followed by dose-dense AC on pathologic complete response rates in triple-negative breast cancer: CALGB 40603. Abstract S5-01. Presented December 13, 2013.

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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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