Recurrent Metastatic ER+ Breast Cancer - Episode 6
Gretchen G. Kimmick, MD, MS:To summarize the case and my thoughts regarding what’s going on with her [the patient’s] case, I think that at this point in history, we’re sort of lacking clinical trials for adjuvant treatment. They’re so expensive and it’s hard to afford them. With tumors that are 5 cm, because she has a high-grade cancer and an Oncotype DX score that is in the high-risk range, I may have gone back and given her neoadjuvant treatment if I knew about her status before her surgery. This would allow for a lesser surgery.
We’re doing more and more clinical trials with basic science so that we have markers that determine what tumors will respond to what treatments. That’s really exciting. When I first started my career, drugs like the CDK [cyclin-dependent kinase]4/6 inhibitors, and even fulvestrant and eribulin were not available. Clinical trials have been done, these drugs have been discovered, more treatments are available, and patients are living a lot longer because they are responding longer to treatments. We offer clinical trials to patients to help them, and to keep their cancer under control. We also offer them so that we have things to offer to our kids, in the future, if they get cancer; or, for us, so that we continue having drugs coming through the pipeline. When patients are diagnosed with metastatic disease, it’s really hard to sit down with them and say, “Well, you’re going to be getting treatment until we can’t control the cancer with the treatment.”
I look forward to a day when clinical trials begin to show that the treatment’s working well, so that I don’t have to tell a patient that a treatment won’t work anymore. Maybe the treatment will make the cancer go away. So, that’s what we’re looking forward to with drug development and clinical trialsgetting rid of the cancer, even when it has returned.
Transcript edited for clarity.
A 52-Year-Old Woman with MetastaticER+ Breast Cancer