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Palliative systemic therapy for young women with metastatic breast cancer

Eng, Lee Guek; Dawood, Shaheenah; Dent, Rebecca

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: September 2015 - Volume 9 - Issue 3 - p 301–307
doi: 10.1097/SPC.0000000000000163
BREAST CANCER IN YOUNG WOMEN: CHALLENGES, PROGRESS, AND BARRIERS Edited by Ellen Warner and Shani Paluch-Shimon
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Purpose of review Breast cancer in young women age less than 40 years remains a relatively rare disease. Emerging data suggest that the biology of breast cancer in younger women may differ from that of older women. Although metastatic breast cancer remains incurable, it is definitely treatable; especially in this era of emerging novel therapeutics.

Recent findings Most women have hormone receptor-positive disease and strategies that interfere with proliferation and the PI3 kinase pathway are reporting exciting results. The prognosis of the metastatic HER2+ subtype has been extended to a median survival of 56 months with dual HER2 targeting agents in the first-line setting. Finally, triple negative breast cancer has an enlarging range of therapeutic options including immunotherapy, antiangiogenesis therapy, and targeted therapies including agents that interfere with androgen receptor signaling.

Summary Combined palliative and holistic approaches are essential to help young women navigate the marathon of treatment for metastatic breast cancer.

aDepartment of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Centre Singapore, Singapore

bDepartment of Medical Oncology, Dubai Hospital, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Correspondence to Dr Lee Guek Eng, Department of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Centre Singapore, 11 Hospital Drive, 169610, Singapore. Tel: +65 6436 8621; fax: +65 6227 2759; e-mail: lee.guek.eng@nccs.com.sg

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