Conference Coverage

Residual cancer burden linked to long-term survival



SAN ANTONIO – Residual cancer burden (RCB) is poised to alter American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging standards in breast cancer, according to investigators.

Dr. W. Fraser Symmans, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston Will Pass/MDedge News

Dr. W. Fraser Symmans

A meta-analysis showed that RCB – which is calculated in the neoadjuvant setting through a combination of primary tumor bed cellularity, lymph node positivity, and size of largest metastasis – was significantly associated with long-term survival of more than 5,000 breast cancer patients, reported principal investigator W. Fraser Symmans, MD, of MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, who presented the findings at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Dr. Laura J. Esserman, University of California, San Francisco Will Pass/MDedge News

Dr. Laura J. Esserman

Coinvestigator Laura J. Esserman, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, who was in attendance at Dr. Symmans’ presentation, put the study in context.

“The reason we did this meta-analysis was to really change the joint commission – the AJCC staging – and we expect that will happen on the basis of these results,” Dr. Esserman said. “[RBC] is, moving forward, the standard of care.”

The investigators analyzed individual-level data from 5,160 patients treated at multiple institutions. For each patient, RCB, which is scored from 0 to III, from pathologic complete response (0) to high disease burden (III), was compared with event-free survival (EFS) and disease relapse-free survival (DRFS).

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