A new breast cancer registry is starting that will make it possible to determine how “real life” doctors treat women with early breast cancer, and what the outcomes are.
More than 36,000 adult women with breast cancer will be recruited from all over the world into the registry, called ABREAST for “A Breast Cancer REgistry of Adjuvant STrategies.” Using standard patient-selection criteria, data-collection instruments, and definitions, it is intended to provide an understanding of existing and evolving practice patterns.
Joyce O'shaughnessy, MD, of Baylor Sammons Cancer Center, one of five breast cancer experts on the ABREAST scientific committee, said that the data will be the first step in establishing a global database to assess current standards of care in early stage breast cancer such as surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and radiation.
“This trial is certainly casting a wide net,” commented Clifford Hudis, MD, Chief of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Breast Cancer Service. “The goal is to very accurately show what is going on in the community. We need this type of information.”
Dr. Hudis suggested that by analyzing why treatment differs geographically and from institution to institution researchers may be able to find answers to questions that have troubled oncologists for decades, including the reasons that a high percentage of women still opt to undergo mastectomy rather than less invasive, less traumatic lumpectomy or tumorectomy procedures.
He added that the project, sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis and launched in December at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, won't provide the type of evidence that is gleaned from well-designed clinical trials, but it will give considerable data from which numerous hypotheses will emerge. In turn those hypotheses can be tested in trials.
All patients enrolled in the ABREAST project must be diagnosed with Stages I or II breast cancer. Patients will be followed for five years, and the registry will capture disease characteristics, including tumor size and nodal status, as well as biomarkers, such as hormone-receptor status.
The registry also will collect information on whether patients are offered and if they pursue subsequent adjuvant or neoadjuvant treatments, such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or radiotherapy, which have proven survival benefits for patients at risk for cancer recurrence.
“The rich database created by ABREAST will be an invaluable resource for the global breast cancer community because currently, limited data exist on the treatment and outcomes of patients with Stage I-II breast cancer in both industrialized and economically emerging countries,” Dr. O'shaughnessy said.