EASO seminar reveals substantial hope for breast cancer patients
- Egypt: Wednesday, September 19 - 2012 at 10:53
- PRESS RELEASE
The first Euro-Arab School of Oncology (EASO) seminar took place 13 - 16 September in Ain Sokhna where leading Egyptian and international oncology experts shared the latest updates in the treatment and management of various tumors.
Dr Alaa El Haddad, Dean of the National Cancer Institute and EASO Honorary President said, "Events such as EASO are critical to develop the knowledge base of oncology experts. We need to broaden cooperation and partnerships to make sure that patients receive the most up to date treatments."
Shedding light on the latest advances in breast cancer therapies redefining the outlook for patients, Dr Hamdy Abdel Azim, Head of the Oncology Department at Cairo University, said, "One of the most recent and transformational drug approvals is the FDA and EU approval of everolimus for postmenopausal women with advanced hormone receptor-positive, or HR+, breast cancer, representing a breakthrough in comparison to conventional treatment. The drug is also administered orally which helps patients resume their normal lifestyle during treatment."
"Advanced breast cancer is comprised of metastatic breast cancer (stage IV) and locally advanced breast cancer (stage III)," said Dr Heba El Zawahry, Head of Medical Oncology department at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). "Early diagnosis is key; cure rates in the first and second stages of breast cancer range from 75 to 90%."
Dr Mustafa El Serafy, President of the Egyptian Cancer Society explained said, "70% of breast cancer cases are HR+, characterized by hormone receptor-positive tumors, a group of cancers that express receptors for certain hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Cancer cell growth can be driven by these hormones."
"In general, women with HR+ breast cancer are treated with endocrine therapies. Eventually however, the tumors could become resistant to these drugs," said Abdel Azim. "One of the pathways reported to regulate resistance to endocrine therapies is mTOR. Everolimus is an mTOR inhibitor, meaning it reverses the resistance to hormonal therapy, allowing the treatment to work again," he clarified.
Dr Yasser Abdel Kader, Director of the Oncology Unit at Cairo University, said, "Studies have shown that women with advanced breast cancer treated with both everolimus and the endocrine therapy exemestane had 7.8 months of progression-free survival - the length of time during and after treatment during which the disease does not worsen - compared to 3.2 months for women who were given exemestane alone."
Commenting on treatment developments in gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), Dr Mohsen Mokhar, Professor of Oncology, Cairo University said, "GIST was frequently misdiagnosed up until 10 years ago. Discovering the driving force behind this tumor, the C-Kit receptor, brought great success; the introduction of Imatinib improved overall 5-year survival rates from 30% to 80%."
Dr Haddad also shared advances in the treatment of chronic leukemia (CML), "CML treatment significantly advanced over the past 15 years since the development of Imatinib, the drug referred to as the 'magic bullet for cancer'. Today CML patients have treatment options that achieve a more rapid response and higher cure rates."
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