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AstraZeneca Receives FDA Approval for Breast Cancer Treatment

12 January 2018

Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK's Head Information Nurse, said: "Although BRCA faults increase the risk of young women developing cancer, their outlook once diagnosed is no worse than that for young women with breast cancer who don't carry the BRCA gene faults".

This is the finding of a prospective cohort study led by the University of Southampton, UK. "Any relationship will have a major health impact", Øjvind Lidegaard, MD, DMSc, of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, told Cancer Therapy Advisor. Findings from epidemiologic studies have, however, been mixed, with only some data sets showing an association between hormonal contraceptive use and oncogenesis. Moreover, known risk factors for the development of HR-positive breast cancer include events that determine estrogen and progesterone exposure, including age of menarche, age of menopause, pregnancy, and exogenous hormone exposures. This action prevents DNA inside BRCA-mutated cancer cells from being repaired, which can stop tumor growth.

The findings, published in the Lancet Oncology journal, showed women with the BRCA-mutation also had an 83.8 per cent of surviving five years and 73.4 per cent chance of surviving ten years, compared to other women who had an 85 per cent five-year survival rate and 70.1 per cent ten-year survival chance. It is also approved in the US for advanced ovarian cancer patients who have received at least three prior lines of chemo and maintenance treatment of ovarian cancer in patients who are in complete or partial response to platinum-based chemo, both BRCA-positive.

The researchers, who looked at nearly 3,000 women, also found outcomes were the same whatever kind of treatment women had - including mastectomies.

The study recruited young women with breast cancer between the years 2000 and 2008, when BRCA testing and risk-reducing surgery were not routine for early breast cancer (stage one or stage two).

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"Women diagnosed with early breast cancer who carry a BRCA mutation are often offered double mastectomies soon after their diagnosis or chemotherapy treatment", said Diana Eccles of the University of Southampton.

Few studies have looked at whether these genes are linked with lower survival in young breast cancer patients, which this research aimed to address.

The actress Angelina Jolie underwent a preventative double mastectomy in 2013, aged 37, after learning she was at high risk of developing breast cancer due to a defective BRCA gene.

Some 89 per cent underwent chemotherapy. "Decisions about timing of additional surgery to reduce future cancer risks should take into account patient prognosis after their first cancer, and their personal preferences". Half had breast-conserving surgery (49%), half had a mastectomy (50%), and less than 1% had no breast surgery.

AstraZeneca Receives FDA Approval for Breast Cancer Treatment