Breakthrough Canadian Research Showcased at World's Largest Cancer Conference

TORONTO, June 8 /CNW/ - Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation funded research will be presented today at the 2010 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago.

The study entitled, "Tissue confirmation of disease recurrence in patients with breast cancer: Pooled analysis of two large prospective studies," analyzed the results of two similar studies, one single-centre Canadian study, DESTINY, and one UK-wide multi-centre study, BRITS. Their pooled analysis determined that for more than one in seven patients with recurrence, or progressive metastatic disease, biopsy of recurrent breast cancer makes a difference in terms of choice of treatment.

"We're very pleased that this work is being shared at ASCO," says Sandra Palmaro, CEO of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - Ontario Region. "These findings can save lives not just in Canada, but around the world."

Treatments for women with recurrent breast cancer are usually based on the properties of their original breast cancer. The DESTINY study was the world's first large study to evaluate if a biopsy of suspected tumours that recurred elsewhere in the body affect doctor's choice of therapy. It found that the biopsy resulted in a significant change in treatment for over 15% of patients. "For these patients, the study opened up possibilities of therapies that would have otherwise not been possible," says investigator, Dr. Eitan Amir.

"This Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation funded research is helping to drive a new standard of care for breast cancer patients globally," says principal investigator, Dr. Mark Clemons. Currently, in Canada, a biopsy of the cancer recurrence is increasingly being offered as a choice if it is felt that the patient would benefit from the information obtained.

Researchers hope that their presentation at ASCO will generate global interest and hope what was learned will empower women with metastatic breast cancer to advocate for their care.

"When a woman is told that she has incurable metastatic breast cancer, she feels that her life is over," says Dr. Clemons. "This research offers women the opportunity to be involved with research that may alter her care, that will provide answers, and ultimately provide a better understanding of why breast cancer spreads in the first place." The study also found that nearly 88% of patients who participated in the study would recommend the procedure to other patients with breast cancer despite an increase in anxiety or pain that resulted due to the procedure.

"It's important to offer women in this tragic situation an opportunity to take charge of their care," says Dr. Clemons. "If we can understand more about the types of cancer that become metastatic cancer, we are going to be in a much better position to develop treatment strategies to prevent breast cancer from developing in the first place."

"As somebody who looks after patients who are dying of this terrible disease, it is important that we continue to ask simple, pragmatic questions about how to improve their care," says Dr. Clemons. "The funding from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation allowed us not only to ask these questions, but to answer them and help patients in practical and real ways."

This groundbreaking study will also be presented at the Best of ASCO in San Francisco, Boston and a number of International venues over the next few months.

    About the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - Ontario Region:

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation was founded in 1986 as the first organization in the country devoted exclusively to the funding of breast cancer research, education and awareness initiatives. The Foundation continues to blaze new trails in breast cancer and breast health by directing donor dollars to world-class researchers and clinicians who are contributing to groundbreaking progress in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Since 2000, the Foundation has directed more than $68 million to the cause in Ontario alone as a result of fundraising initiatives like our signature events, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure and Yard Sale for the Cure, hundreds of thousands of donors, and the efforts of a committed volunteer network numbering in the thousands.

SOURCE Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - Ontario Region

For further information: For further information: about the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - Ontario Region, or to coordinate an interview related to this release: Jennifer F. Modica, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Tel: (416) 815-1313 ext. 208, Email:

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