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Komen NYC's Key Takeaways from the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2019


Patient Advocate extraordinaire, Kelli Davis, and I were thrilled to represent Komen NYC! SABCS is the yearly mecca for breast cancer researchers, oncologists, surgeons, and radiologists from every corner of the globe.

It could be hard to get to the sessions because of all the people we stopped to chat with.

Particularly notable this year and totally fantastic? The SLEW of bold and intrepid patient advocates who came to SABCS19 to SLAY. Here is fearless patient advocate, Lianne Kraemer, taking the microphone to advocate for trials to NOT exclude patients with active brain metastases.

I would be remiss to not give a shout-out to Eli Lilly for instituting a Patient Advocate Lounge!!! It was conveniently located and provided refreshments and a meet-up place for all the advocates.

breast cancer

Me and Kelli with Komen Scholar and Komen NYC Medical Advisory Committee member extraordinaire, Dawn Hershman, MD, MS. Dr. Hershman gave an eye-opening presentation on the prevalence and risks associated with non-adherence to endocrine therapy. “Therapy doesn’t work if it’s not taken.” Less than 50% of patients take hormone therapy correctly for the full duration prescribed!!

Notable themes throughout the conference? Deescalation of therapy and finding more ways to bring immunotherapy into breast cancer treatment.

Possibly the most exciting, tears of joy, practice-changing presentation? The HER2CLIMB study which was presented by Komen Scholar, Ian Krop, MD, PhD. This study showed reduced risk of progression or death by 46%!! AND 47% with active brain mets. Since SABCS19 the FDA has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation to the addition of this study’s drug, tucatinib, to trastuzumab (Herceptin) and capecitabine for patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer, including those with brain metastases. Exciting news for our HER2-positive MBC friends who have progressed on other lines of treatment.

Kevin Kalinsky, MD, MS, a Komen NYC Medical Advisory Committee Member and amazing Komen NYC friend hit it out of the park discussing immune activity in early-stage vs. metastatic triple-negative breast cancers. Is PD-L1 status the best predictor for checkpoint inhibitor response? Also discussed, the potential for overtreatment with checkpoint inhibitors in the curable subset and the likelihood of long-term, debilitating toxicities. And the importance of “Right patient, right agent, right time.”

Susan G. Komen is funding potential practice-changing research for early-stage aggressive HER2+ disease. Could targeted therapy TDM1 be better than Herceptin plus Taxotere?

Congrats!! Komen NYC friend, the always amazing, Neil Vasan, MD, Ph.D. was selected for a Susan G. Komen Career Catalyst Research Grant. His project: Conquering Metastasis, Exploiting PIK3CA Mutations to Improve PI3K-targeted Therapy for ER+ Metastatic Breast Cancer.

And lastly, look at this!!!!! An oral paclitaxel (Taxol) which = less neuropathy and alopecia. Sounds like a game-changer with regards to patient quality of life!!!

Another SABCS Highlight? The annual Brinker Awards for Scientific Distinction. Read more about the 2019 awardees.

Also notable:

Important Susan G. Komen Funded research presented at SABCS19, INFORM Study: Treatment Options for HER2 Negative patients with BRCA ½ mutations.

Important study presented by Komen Scholar, Bryan Schneider, MD, moves us closer to predicting recurrence and informing the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer.

Want more? Check out Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s interview with Dr. Hope Rugo sharing her key highlights. And for all things SABCS19 and MBC please read Anne Loeser’s, the author of the Insider’s Guide to Metastatic Breast Cancer, summary. And of course, the Komen NYC Twitter feed has all of our live reporting.

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