Expanded Committee Anticipates Watershed Year for Miami Breast Cancer Conference

December 17, 2016
Shannon Connelly

The 2017 Miami Breast Cancer Conference, to be held March 9 to 12 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, welcomes an expanded group of program chairs, and a newly established curriculum committee made up of a multidisciplinary group of breast cancer specialists.

Debu Tripathy, MD

The 2017 Miami Breast Cancer Conference, to be held March 9 to 12 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, welcomes an expanded group of program chairs, and a newly established curriculum committee made up of a multidisciplinary group of breast cancer specialists.

Leading the program again is Patrick I. Borgen, MD, chair of the Department of Surgery at Maimonides Medical Center. He is joined by returning chair Debu Tripathy, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Breast Medical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, as well as new program chairs Kimberly Blackwell, MD, professor of medicine and assistant professor of radiation oncology at Duke University Medical Center; and Elizabeth Mittendorf, MD, PhD, associate professor and deputy chair for research, Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The curriculum committee includes Adam M. Brufsky, MD, PhD; Anees B. Chagpar, MD, MSc, MBA, MA, MPH; William J. Gradishar, MD; Sara Hurvitz, MD; and Pat Whitworth, MD.

Tripathy said the decision to expand the number of program chairs was based on the need to represent each area of research and expertise, as well as getting more input on areas of controversy in the field of breast cancer. Thus, they chose individuals who had a track record of research in diverse areas.

“Blackwell has done some very important clinical trial work in the area of HER2-positive breast cancer, and also in molecular profiling. Mittendorf has also done a lot of work in outcomes of neoadjuvant therapy in breast cancer, and she also has a PhD in immunology and is an active researcher in that field,” Tripathy said.

As in prior years, the faculty’s goal in creating the program was to to identify important trends and discoveries happening in the breast cancer field that are ready to be applied in the clinic or are on the verge of changing practice, Tripathy said. The meeting will also review some of the up-and-coming changes in the field, including the exciting area of immunotherapy, some of the newer molecular diagnostics and how to interpret them, and where the science is headed, Tripathy said.

One of the new areas of development that will be covered is the evolving area of surgical management, including optimal surgery margins, new techniques in plastic and reconstructive surgery, and the timing of surgery when patients are receiving neoadjuvant therapy.

In the medical field, the program will address biological therapies combined with hormonal therapies, as well as the latest developments in the management of HER2-positive breast cancer, including some of the newer drugs that are in clinical trials, Tripathy said.

The program will also include debates—a feature that was introduced at the conference several years ago—with several debates scheduled around controversial topics, including molecular gene profiling assays, optimal surgery margins, and tomosynthesis mammography.

Tripathy said he believes this will be a watershed year for the conference, due to the quantity of recent developments in the area of breast cancer. With the expanded panel of chairs, as well as the curriculum committee, the overall program will be much more diverse in terms of speakers and topics.