ASCO 2015 Oncology Meeting Is Underway

Breast Cancer News
May 30, 2015
Erin Rowley, Writer and Content Coordinator

Tens of thousands of cancer doctors have come to Chicago for the 51st annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting. The conference began Friday, May 29, and runs through Tuesday, June 2.

Here are two findings presented Saturday.

Cavity Shaving

During partial mastectomyinfo-icon, a surgeoninfo-icon removes the cancer and some of the breast tissueinfo-icon in the margins, the areas surrounding the cancer. If cancer cells are found in those margins, more surgeryinfo-icon may be needed. But taking out more tissue during the first surgery, called cavity shaving, may reduce the need for further surgery in early-stage breast cancerinfo-icon.

Those taking part in this study were randomly assigned to either have standard surgery or standard surgery plus cavity shaving. Compared to surgery without cavity shaving, surgery with cavity shaving resulted in

  • about half as many women with cancer cells in the margins
  • about half as many women needing more surgery

Women in both groups reported about the same level of happiness with the look of their breast after surgery, even though more breast tissue was removed from those who had cavity shaving.

Future study will compare the groups for any differences in the number of cancers that return in the breast.

The study was led by Anees B. Chagpar, MD, of Yale Cancer Center and reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Preventing Hair Loss

A number of studies and education sessions at ASCO focused on improving quality of lifeinfo-icon and lessening side effects.

The DigniCap System is a scalp-cooling system that lowers the amount of chemotherapyinfo-icon being delivered to the scalp. Its purpose is to prevent hair loss. The treatment is given by healthcare providers on the same day as chemotherapy.

A study led by Hope S. Rugo, MD, of the University of California San Francisco tested the DigniCap System in women with early-stage breast cancer who were receiving a kind of chemotherapy called cyclophosphamideinfo-icon (Cytoxaninfo-icon). The study was presented as a poster.

Researchers found that the DigniCap System stopped significant hair loss in 70.3 percent of women who were assigned to use it. In comparison, 94 percent of women on the study who weren’t assigned to use the DigniCap lost more than 75 percent of their hair.

There are some concerns that this type of treatment could lead to more cases of breast cancer traveling to the scalp, but no evidence of that was seen in this study. The researchers plan to continue following the participants to learn more about the long-term safety of the DigniCap System.

This treatment is not currently approved by the FDAinfo-icon, but it is expected to be approved soon.

“The time has come, and it’s about time,” said Charles L. Shapiro, MD, of Mount Sinai School of Medicineinfo-icon, in New York.

More studies about breast cancer will be presented in the coming days. Check back for updates, and don’t forget to join us for our annual ASCO webinar on Thursday, June 4.

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Additional Related Topics 
Hair Loss