“This study highlights an interesting difference between breast cancers that are detected at the time a woman attends a scheduled appointment as part of a national screening program and those that are diagnosed in the interval between screenings,” commented European Breast Cancer Conference spokesperson David Cameron, MD, Professor of Medical Oncology, University of Edinburgh Cancer Centre, Scotland.
David Cameron, MD
“It has been previously noted that interval cancers are more likely to be high grade and that would be associated with a poorer outcome, but the novel finding here is that, for those cancers identified biologically as being high risk by the 70-gene signature test, the screen-detected ones do better than those presenting as interval cancers,” Dr. Cameron said.
“If these results are confirmed in another series, it would suggest that earlier diagnosis via screening of more biologically aggressive cancers is worthwhile: screen-detecting such cancers may improve patients’ survival. The findings also suggest that clinicians should take into account the method of detection as an additional prognostic factor when considering adjuvant therapy, enabling further personalization of therapy to the individual woman and her cancer,” he continued.
“This is as important for low-risk cancers as for high-risk ones. Longer follow-up for low-risk cancers could give us more information as to whether more aggressive treatments could be avoided, as these tumors can recur 15 to 20 years later,” Dr. Cameron concluded.
DISCLOSURE: Dr. Cameron has served as an institutional consultant or advisor to Daiichi Sankyo, Eisai, F. Hoffmann–La Roche AG, Lilly, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Novartis, Oncolytics, Pfizer, Prima BioMed, Puma Biotechnology, Research Triangle, Roche, Samsung Bioepis Co Ltd (Korea), Seattle Genetics, Synthon, and Zymeworks; has received institutional research funding from AstraZeneca, Novartis, and Roche; and has been reimbursed for travel, accommodations, or other expenses by Novartis.
Breast cancers detected between mammographic screenings carry a worse prognosis than those detected at the time of screening, even when tumor biology is similar, according to research presented at the 12th European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC 12), which was held virtually this year.1