October – breast cancer awareness month

Breast cancer is the most common cancer globally, according to the World Health Organization. It accounts for 12% of all new cancer cases worldwide. Today, breast cancer treatment is highly effective and 90% of patients are cured, largely because of efficient screening programs and awareness enabling early diagnosis.

Metastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread to another part of the body, most commonly the bones, lungs, brain, or liver. For people with estrogen receptor-positive form of breast cancer, bone is the most common site of breast cancer metastases. The bone is the first site of metastases for almost half of women with metastatic breast cancer.

When breast cancer spreads to the bone, it can be treated but cannot be cured. Bone metastases in particular are a frequent source of pain for late-stage cancer patients, and they are often very resistant to treatment due to the characteristics of the bone microenvironment. Thankfully, due to variety of treatment options, more and more people are living longer while being treated for metastatic breast cancer.

We at Pharmatest are constantly striving for advances in cancer research, especially metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic and primary tumors sometimes respond differently to therapy. Therefore, when establishing efficacy of a new drug candidate or combination, it is important not to rely only on experiments in primary tumor, but to also study the test compound in a metastatic setting.

The hope for a cure burns brighter as the first immunotherapy for triple negative metastatic breast cancer, Keytruda, was accepted by FDA in 2020, paving the way for other immunotherapies and combination therapies.