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1.  Association of HER2 Overexpression and Prognosis in Small (T1N0) Primary Breast Cancers 
Breast Care  2013;8(3):208-214.
There is some controversy regarding the precise role and need for adjuvant therapy in patients with pT1a/pT1bN0 breast cancer, although studies have indicated that a HER2-positive status is one of the most powerful poor prognostic factors.
Patients and Methods
We retrospectively evaluated disease-free survival (DFS), distant disease-free survival (DDFS), and overall survival (OS) among 960 patients diagnosed between 2000 and 2008 with T1N0 primary breast cancer treated at 3 German centers, and determined prognostic risk factors. Univariate analysis was used to determine associations with potential risk factors.
With a median follow-up of 23 months, DFS was 94.8%, DDFS 96.3%, and OS 97.5%. Risk factors for decreased 1-year DFS were: peritumoral lymphatic invasion (L1) (p = 0.031), negative hormone receptor status (p = 0.003), non-use of hormonal therapy (p = 0.001), and a positive HER2 status (p = 0.003). Amongst the HER2-positive patients only 2.7% (n = 1/37) of those treated with trastuzumab had a DFS event compared with 20% (n = 10/50) without trastuzumab.
Patients with HER2-positive T1 breast cancer should be considered for inclusion in prospective trials of trastuzumab in combination with chemotherapy to determine the risk-to-benefit ratio and association with other prognostic factors.
PMCID: PMC3728630  PMID: 24415972
Trastuzumab; High-risk breast cancer; Adjuvant treatment; HER2/neu; Disease-free survival
2.  13th St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference 2013: Primary Therapy of Early Breast Cancer Evidence, Controversies, Consensus – Opinion of a German Team of Experts (Zurich 2013) 
Breast Care  2013;8(3):221-229.
The International Consensus Conference on the treatment of primary breast cancer takes place every two years in St. Gallen, Switzerland. The panel in St. Gallen is composed of international experts from different countries. From a German perspective, it seems reasonable to interpret the voting results in the light of AGO-recommendations and S3-guidelines for everyday practice in Germany. Consequently, a team of eight breast cancer experts, of whom two are members of the international St. Gallen panel, commented on the voting results of the St. Gallen Consensus Conference (2013). The main topics at this year's St. Gallen conference were surgical issues of the breast and axilla, radio-therapeutic and systemic treatment options, and the clinical relevance of tumour biology. The clinical utility of multigene assays for supporting individual treatment decisions was also intensively discussed.
PMCID: PMC3728634  PMID: 24415975
St. Gallen Consensus; Early breast cancer; Adjuvant therapy; Multigene signatures; Targeted therapy
3.  HER2 Dimerization Inhibitor Pertuzumab – Mode of Action and Clinical Data in Breast Cancer 
Breast Care  2013;8(1):49-55.
The humanized monoclonal antibody pertuzumab prevents the dimerization of HER2 with other HER receptors, in particular the pairing of the most potent signaling heterodimer HER2/HER3, thus providing a potent strategy for dual HER2 inhibition. It binds to the extracellular domain of HER2 at a different epitope than trastuzumab. Pertuzumab and trastuzumab act in a complementary fashion and provide a more complete blockade of HER2-mediated signal transduction than either agent alone. Phase II studies demonstrated that pertuzumab was generally well tolerated as a single agent or in combination with trastuzumab and/or cytotoxic agents, and implied an improved clinical efficacy of the combination of pertuzumab and trastuzumab in early and advanced HER2-positive breast cancer. Results of the pivotal phase III study CLEOPATRA in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer demonstrated that the addition of pertuzumab to first-line combination therapy with docetaxel and trastuzumab significantly prolonged progression-free and overall survival without increasing cardiac toxicity. Currently, the combination of both antibodies is being explored in the palliative setting as well as in the treatment of early HER2-positive breast cancer. Dual HER2 inhibition with the HER2 dimerization inhibitor pertuzumab and trastuzumab may change clinical practice in HER2-positive first-line metastatic breast cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC3971793  PMID: 24715843
HER2-positive; Dual inhibition; Breast cancer, metastatic; Pertuzumab; Trastuzumab
4.  ABC1 Consensus Conference – a German Perspective 
Breast Care  2012;7(1):52-59.
A group of German breast cancer experts (medical oncologists and gynaecologists) reviewed and commented on the results of the first international ‘Advanced Breast Cancer First Consensus Conference’ (ABC1) for the diagnosis and treatment of advanced breast cancer. The ABC1 Conference is an initiative of the European School of Oncology (ESO) Metastatic Breast Cancer Task Force in cooperation with the EBCC (European Breast Cancer Conference), ESMO (European Society of Medical Oncology) and the American JNCI (Journal of the National Cancer Institute). The main focus of the ABC1 Conference was metastatic breast cancer (stage IV). The ABC1 consensus is based on the vote of 33 breast cancer experts from different countries and has been specified as a guideline for therapeutic practice by the German expert group. It is the objective of the ABC1 consensus as well as of the German comments to provide an internationally standardized and evidence-based foundation for qualified decision-making in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3335349  PMID: 22553474
ABC1-consensus; Metastatic breast cancer, diagnosis and staging, treatment; Tumor markers; Metastases, biopsy; Chemotherapy; Endocrine therapy; Anti-HER2-targeted therapy; Palliative care
5.  Preoperative Systemic Treatment in BRCA-Positive Breast Cancer Patients: Case Report and Review of the Literature 
Breast Care  2011;6(5):395-398.
In vitro and in vivo analyses have shown differences in chemosensitivity between breast cancers associated with BRCA1/2 mutations compared to sporadic variants. In the preoperative setting, the tumor response can be directly measured. Therefore, preoperative systemic treatment (PST) offers the opportunity to assess the chemosensitivity in vivo. However, there have been neither clear guidelines for mutation carriers in terms of choice of chemotherapy regimen nor recommendations how to proceed in case of an inadequate response to PST.
Case Report
Herein, we present the history of a 39-year-old woman with bilateral breast cancer who was tested positive for germ-line BRCA1 mutation while under PST. We performed a comprehensive literature review covering the MEDLINE database from 1992 to 2010 on published data regarding PST options for BRCA mutation carriers.
If results of genetic testing are obtained during PST, individual therapy adaptations can be discussed with respect to mainly retrospective data of response to specific drugs. However, larger studies with longer follow-up are eagerly needed to draw firm conclusions before any specific treatment recommendations can be given for BRCA mutation carriers. PST is an ideal setting to evaluate such treatment options and to describe predictive markers that can help define subgroups that benefit most.
PMCID: PMC3357156  PMID: 22619651
Preoperative chemotherapy; BRCA mutation; Breast cancer
6.  Targeted Therapy in Breast Cancer 
Breast Care  2010;5(3):132-133.
PMCID: PMC2931050  PMID: 20847825
7.  Zurich Consensus: German Expert Opinion on the St. Gallen Votes on 15 March 2009 (11th International Conference at St. Gallen: Primary Therapy of Early Breast Cancer) 
Breast Care  2009;4(2):109-116.
A German working group of 23 breast cancer experts discussed the results from the vote at this year's St. Gallen Consensus Conference on Primary Therapy for Early Breast Cancer (March 11–14, 2009) and came up with some concrete recommendations for day-to-day therapeutic decisions in Germany. Due the fact that the concept of the St. Gallen Consensus Conference merely allows for a minimal consensus, the objective of the working group was to provide practice-related recommendations for day-to-day clinical decisions in Germany. One area of emphasis at St. Gallen was tumor biology as a starting point for reaching individual therapeutic decisions. Intensive discussion was necessary with respect to the clinical relevance of predictive and prognostic factors. A new addition to the area of systemic therapy was a first-ever discussion of the adjuvant administration of bisphosponates and the fact that therapy with trastuzumab in HER2 overexpressing breast cancer has been defined as the standard for neoadjuvant therapy. The value of taxanes as a component of (neo)adjuvant chemotherapy as well as the value of aromatase inhibitors for the endocrine adjuvant treatment of postmenopausal patients were affirmed.
PMCID: PMC2931071  PMID: 21049070
8.  Combined Chemotherapy with Mitomycin C, Folinic Acid, and 5-Fluorouracil (MiFoFU) as Salvage Treatment for Patients with Liver Metastases from Breast Cancer — a Retrospective Analysis 
Breast Care  2008;3(4):262-267.
The aim of this study was to analyze the activity and tolerability of a combined chemotherapy with mitomycin C, folinic acid, and 5-fluorouracil (MiFoFU) in patients with hepatic metastases from breast cancer, and in particular in patients with impaired liver function.
Patients and Methods
We retrospectively studied the charts of 44 patients who were treated with a MiFoFU combination therapy because of progressive metastatic breast cancer. Predominant site of metastases was the liver. Primary endpoints were response and time to progression (TTP); secondary endpoints were overall survival (OS) and tolerability.
Median age prior to treatment was 59 years. A median of 6 treatment cycles were administered per patient. Clinical benefit rate amounted to 64%. A mean TTP of 9 months and a mean OS of 14 months were found. Main clinical signs of nonhematological toxicity were stomatitis, nausea, and diarrhea. Grade III/IV hematotoxicity was seen in only 9 patients. 16 patients showed clinical signs of liver dysfunction. A clinical benefit could be achieved in 8 of these patients.
MiFoFU combination chemotherapy is a well-tolerated treatment alternative in the palliative therapy of patients with liver metastases from breast cancer. Particularly in patients with hepatic dysfunction, this regimen seems to represent a helpful treatment option.
PMCID: PMC2974982  PMID: 21076607
Metastatic breast cancer; Liver metastases; Mitomycin; 5-Fluorouracil; Folinic acid
9.  Carcinoma of Unknown Primary – an Orphan Disease? 
Breast Care  2008;3(3):164-170.
Carcinoma of unknown primary (CUP) is an intriguing clinical finding that is defined as biopsy-proven metastasis from a malignancy in the absence of an identifiable primary site after a complete clinical work-up. CUP is a relatively common clinical entity, accounting for approximately 3–5% of all cancer diagnoses, and consists of a heterogeneous group of tumors that have acquired the capacity to metastasize before the development of a clinically evident primary lesion. Notable advances have been made over the past years in the treatment of well-defined clinical subgroups of CUP, such as women with peritoneal carcinomatosis and young adults with poorly differentiated carcinomas of midline distribution, but for the majority of patients, the prognosis still remains poor. In this review, we highlight recent advances in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with CUP syndrome, and emphasize the importance of identifying several favorable subsets of CUP, amenable to specific treatment options. In addition, we will point out novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches which will hopefully improve both our understanding and the prognosis of this more or less neglected disease.
PMCID: PMC2931112  PMID: 20824034
CUP; Carcinoma of unknown primary; Metastases; Cetuximab

Results 1-9 (9)