Innovative Therapeutic Approaches in Breast Cancer

Targeted Therapies is one of the innovative in breast cancer treatment. Several clinical trials led by physician-scientists at Mass General are revealing the power of new targeted anticancer therapies in breast cancer. Everolimus is a targeted therapy that works by zeroing in on the mTOR protein, which is regulated by the family of enzymes known as PI3 kinases (PI3K). In healthy cells, mTOR is involved in cell growth, cell proliferation, protein synthesis, and many other functions. In tumor cells, the mTOR pathway goes awry, leading to excess proliferation and a failure to respond to normal growth regulatory mechanisms. Everolimus in postmenopausal hormone-receptor-positive advanced breast cancer.

Surgery for Breast Cancer is really challenging to cure the breast cancer without any side effects. Lumpectomy is Surgery to remove the tumor along with some surrounding healthy tissue, leaving the margins (tissue bordering the tumor) free from cancer. Quadrantectomy is a breast-conserving surgery, this procedure removes one-fourth of the breast tissue. Mastectomy is a surgery to remove all the breast tissue. The most common type of mastectomy today is called a modified radical mastectomy, in which the breast tissue is removed but the muscles in the chest wall are spared, preserving arm strength. Lymphadenectomy is a surgery to remove one or more lymph nodes in the tumor area. Nodes are then examined for cancer by our pathology department. Oophorectomy is a removing the female ovaries to decrease hormone production. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery are the surgeries to restore or improve the appearance of the breast. Some women choose to have reconstruction surgery at the time of a mastectomy; others defer a decision about reconstruction until a later time.

Several clinical trials led by physician-scientists at Mass General are revealing the power of new targeted anticancer therapies in breast cancer.

Routine Cancer Genotyping
To help guide the administration of appropriate targeted therapies for women seeking treatment for advanced breast cancer at Mass General Cancer Center, physicians have established a routine cancer genotyping program—the SNaPshot molecular fingerprinting technique—that assesses each patient’s tumor for known genetic mutations. 

Partial Breast Irradiation
Many women who choose not to have a mastectomy instead undergo breast-conserving surgery where only the tumor and a small margin of tissue are removed, followed by a six-week course of daily radiation to the whole breast. But many women find this lengthy course of treatment represents a significant burden in their daily lives. 

Proton Beam Radiation
In other efforts to limit radiation-induced side effects such as cardiotoxicity, Mass General radiation oncologists are now recruiting women into a pilot clinical trial using proton beam radiation, instead of the standard photon beam. Studies performed at Mass General demonstrated that proton beam irradiation exposes the heart to one-tenth the radiation of photon beam radiation.

Limiting Lymphedema
Physicians in the Mass General Breast Service offer women a new approach to help prevent the onset of lymphedema—a condition affecting 10 percent of women after aggressive breast cancer surgery. Starting in 2005, physicians began a screening program for all women to identify swelling at its earliest stage.

Surgical Advances

Two surgical advances available at Mass General are helping reduce complications and improve cosmetic appearance after breast cancer surgery.

  • New trends to find breast cancer early
  • Determining the best ways for hormonal therapy
  • Anti- angiogenesis, Genetic risk and genetic testing (BRCA etc)
  • Finding new Reconstructive Surgery Approaches
  • Management of DCIS and ADH
  • Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
  • Targeted Therapies
  • Surgery for Breast Cancer
  • Developing ways to evaluate the Genes and Proteins in various Breast Cancer

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Innovative Therapeutic Approaches in Breast Cancer Conference Speakers