The 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) presented many studies that will change how medical professionals screen, diagnose and treat for breast cancer. The following are a few observations from the SABCS 2013 I think women and fellow medical professionals might be interested in.

Adjuvant Bisphosphonate Therapy in Breast Cancer

The meta-analysis of bisphosphonate treatment presented on Thursday will be practice changing. The Overview Analysis evaluated the benefit of bisphosphonates (such as Zometa) in all randomized trials including more than 17,000 women with breast cancer with 15-year follow-up.

Bisphosphonates given at the start of treatment to post-menopausal women with breast cancer can decrease bone recurrence by 34 percent and can significantly decrease the risk of death from breast cancer by 17 percent at 10 years, compared to post menopausal women who did not take these medications.

Newly diagnosed post-menopausal women with any invasive breast cancer are now recommended to start this treatment (any regimen of bisphosphonates) with their adjuvant therapy. This trial does not suggest benefit of starting bisphosphonates for women who have completed their treatment or for women in the middle of their treatment.

Anastrozole & Breast Cancer Prevention

The results of the preventive trial of anastrozole for post-menopausal women (IBIS-II) were favorable. Women taking the aromatase inhibitor (AI) had a 53 percent reduction in the risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who did not get the drug. There was a 10 percent increase in musculoskeletal symptoms but less than 2 percent increase in fractures for women on the AI.

2013 SABCS Talks in Orange County

I look forward to sharing additional observations from the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in a series of community lectures in January. Details will be announced later this month.
Bevacizumab | Bisphosphonate Therapy | 2013 SABCS | Breastlink