The NCCN 2023 Annual Conference took place this past weekend, March 31 to April 2, 2023, in Orlando, Florida and provided many updates for breast cancer patients. Though the conference is designed for oncology care providers, the research presented at the most recent event–and related insights from that research–may be helpful to breast cancer patients in active treatment. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is a not-for-profit alliance of 32 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education. NCCN is the authority on cancer care, and the Outcomes4Me app is the only direct-to–patient app that integrates with the NCCN Guidelines®–ensuring breast cancer patients are aware of the latest treatment options that could influence their care plans and health outcomes.
A comprehensive catalog of abstracts of the research presented at the event are here.
There were 3 studies presented that we feel are particularly relevant to breast cancer patients. Continue reading for a summary of the research and how it could guide your care.
What was studied? How often CDK 4/6 inhibitors were used as first-line treatment in HR+ metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
What did they learn? Even though a CDK 4/6 inhibitor plus endocrine therapy (ET) is considered standard of care first-line treatment for patients with hormone receptor positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (HER2-) MBC, the drug was under utilised, especially in patients over 65 years old.
Action: If you were recently diagnosed with HR+ MBC, talk to your medical team to see if a CDK 4/6 inhibitor is the right first-line treatment for you.
What was studied? Herceptin and Perjeta have been game changers in the treatment of HER2+ breast cancer but they unfortunately leave patients at risk of serious cardiac events. Current guidelines recommend monitoring cardiac function every three months in all patients on these anti-HER2 therapies. Researchers wanted to understand if all patients had equal risk of cardiac events or if there were certain factors that could identify patients that should have cardiac monitoring more often.
What did they learn? This study found that the patients at most risk of a cardiac event had two or more baseline cardiac risk factors or history of anthracycline therapy. The risk was as low as 5% for those without those risk factors. As a result, the cardiac health monitoring recommendations changed slightly for those without the baseline risk factors to every six months instead of every three months.
Action: If you’re a breast cancer patient with HER2+ disease and are on Herceptin and Perjeta, you should talk to your medical team about the ideal frequency of cardiac health monitoring.
What was studied? Presented at NCCN 2023, lifestyle behavior change is one risk-reduction strategy for women with elevated breast cancer (BC) risk. The purpose of this study was to understand if patients who understood that their lifetime risk of breast cancer was high would be motivated to adopt lifestyle changes as a way of reducing their risk of developing breast cancer.
What did they learn? Despite 73% of the patients reporting that they understood that their risk of developing breast cancer was high and that lifestyle factors could help reduce their risk, overall uptake of healthy lifestyle behaviors was low. These behaviors included lowering BMI, reducing alcohol intake, and exercising more frequently.
Action: If you are at high risk of developing breast cancer or are a breast cancer survivor who is interested in lowering your risk of recurrence, talk to your medical team about the resources available to help you address your lifestyle factors that may be in need of improvement.
Have questions about these research results? Use the Ask Outcomes4Me feature in our app and our team of oncology nurses will answer.