Richard Bell

University of Vic, Vic, Catalonia, Spain

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Publications (29)504.07 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We designed a mathematical model to describe and quantify the mechanisms and dynamics of tumor growth, cell-kill and resistance as they affect durations of benefit after cancer treatment. Our aim was to explore how treatment efficacy may be related to primary tumor characteristics, with the potential to guide future trial design and appropriate selection of therapy. Assuming a log-normal distribution of both resistant disease and tumor doubling times generates disease-free survival (DFS) or invasive DFS curves with specific shapes. Using a multivariate mathematical model, both treatment and tumor characteristics are related to quantified resistant disease and tumor regrowth rates by allowing different mean values for the influence of different treatments or clinical subtypes on these two log-normal distributions. Application of the model to the CALGB 9741 adjuvant breast cancer trial showed that dose-dense therapy was estimated to achieve an extra 3/4 log of cell-kill compared to standard therapy, but only in patients with more rapidly growing ER-negative tumors. Application of the model to the AZURE trial of adjuvant bisphosphonate treatment suggested that the 5-year duration of zoledronic acid was adequate for ER-negative tumors, but may not be so for ER-positive cases, with increased recurrences after ceasing the intervention. Mathematical models can identify different effects of treatment by subgroup and may aid in treatment design, trial analysis, and appropriate selection of therapy. They may provide a more appropriate and insightful tool than the conventional Cox model for the statistical analysis of response durations.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
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    ABSTRACT: This retrospective analysis conducted using data from patients enrolled onto the Herceptin Adjuvant has two objectives: The first is to evaluate the impact of the time interval between the end of adjuvant trastuzumab and distant recurrence (TDRI) upon overall survival (OS). The second is to describe the duration of trastuzumab-based regimens in the metastatic setting for patients previously treated with adjuvant trastuzumab. The first objective included 187 patients treated with adjuvant trastuzumab and diagnosed with distant recurrence at 4-year median follow-up. The second objective included data from questionnaires sent to investigators retreating patients with trastuzumab upon distant recurrence: 144 of 156 questionnaires were returned (93 %), and 90 patients were selected based on available clinical information and consent for subsequent studies. There was no statistically significant relationship between TDRI following 1 year of adjuvant trastuzumab and OS from distant recurrence: hazard ratio 0.991, p = 0.46. The median OS from distant recurrence was numerically longer among patients with a TDRI of ≥12 months (n = 103) than <12 months (n = 84) but not statistically significant (23.7 vs. 17.8 months, p = 0.47). The median duration of first-line trastuzumab-based regimens for patients previously treated with adjuvant trastuzumab and diagnosed with distant disease recurrence was 8.8 months (n = 88). This retrospective, exploratory study suggests that TDRI did not impact on OS measured from distant recurrence. We argue that prospective collection of treatment information beyond disease progression should be included in future clinical studies.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
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    Preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Trials

  • No preview · Article · May 2015 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Background The role of adjuvant bisphosphonates in early breast cancer is uncertain. We therefore did a large randomised trial to investigate the effect of the adjuvant use of zoledronic acid on disease-free survival (DFS) in high-risk patients with early breast cancer. Methods In the AZURE trial, an open-label, international, multicentre, randomised, controlled, parallel-group phase 3 trial, women (age ≥18 years) with stage II or III breast cancer were randomly assigned (1:1) by a central automated 24-h computer-generated telephone minimisation system (balanced for number of involved axillary lymph nodes, tumour stage, oestrogen receptor status, type and timing of systemic therapy, menopausal status, statin use, and treatment centre) to receive standard adjuvant systemic treatment alone (control group) or with 4 mg intravenous zoledronic acid every 3–4 weeks for six doses, then every 3 months for eight doses, followed by every 6 months for five doses, for a total of 5 years of treatment. The primary endpoint was disease-free survival (DFS). Secondary endpoints were invasive DFS (IDFS), overall survival, time to bone metastases, time to distant recurrence, and subgroup analyses of variables included in the randomisation. All patients have completed study treatment. Results from the intention-to-treat final analysis of this fully recruited study are presented after a median follow-up of 84 months (IQR 66–93). This final efficacy analysis was planned to take place after 940 DFS events. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00072020. Findings 3360 women were recruited from 174 centres in seven countries between Sept 4, 2003, and Feb 16, 2006. The number of DFS events did not differ between groups: 493 in the control group and 473 in the zoledronic acid group (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 0·94, 95% CI 0·82–1·06; p=0·30). IDFS (HR 0·93, 95% CI 0·82–1·05; p=0·22), overall survival (0·93, 0·81–1·08; p=0·37), and distant recurrences (0·93, 0·81–1·07; p=0·29) were much the same in both groups. Zoledronic acid reduced the development of bone metastases, both as a first event (HR 0·78, 95% CI 0·63–0·96; p=0·020) and at any time during follow-up (0·81, 0·68–0·97; p=0·022). The effects of zoledronic acid on DFS were not affected by oestrogen-receptor status. However, zoledronic acid improved IDFS in those who were over 5 years since menopause at trial entry (n=1041; HR 0·77, 95% CI 0·63–0·96) but not in all other (premenopause, perimenopause, and unknown status) menopausal groups (n=2318; HR 1·03, 95% CI 0·89–1·20). 33 cases of suspected osteonecrosis of the jaw have been reported, with 26 confirmed on central review, all in the zoledronic acid group (1·7%, 95% CI 1·0–2·4). Interpretation These results suggest no overall benefit from the addition of zoledronic acid to standard adjuvant treatments for early breast cancer. However, zoledronic acid does reduce the development of bone metastases and, for women with established menopause, improved disease outcomes. Funding Novartis Global and NIHR Cancer Research Network.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · The Lancet Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: To document the rate and outcome of trastuzumab-associated cardiac dysfunction in patients following 1 or 2 years of adjuvant therapy. Patients and methods: The Herceptin Adjuvant (HERA) trial is a three-arm, randomized trial comparing 2 years or 1 year of trastuzumab with observation in 5,102 patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) -positive early-stage breast cancer. Cardiac function was closely monitored. Eligible patients had left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≥ 55% at study entry following neoadjuvant chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy. This 8-year median follow-up analysis considered patients randomly assigned to 2 years or 1 year of trastuzumab or observation. Results: The as-treated safety population for 2 years of trastuzumab (n = 1,673), 1 year of trastuzumab (n = 1,682), and observation (n = 1,744) is reported. Cardiac adverse events leading to discontinuation of trastuzumab occurred in 9.4% of patients in the 2-year arm and 5.2% of patients in the 1-year arm. Cardiac death, severe congestive heart failure (CHF), and confirmed significant LVEF decrease remained low in all three arms. The incidence of severe CHF (0.8%, 0.8%, and 0.0%, respectively) and confirmed significant LVEF decrease (7.2%, 4.1%, and 0.9%, respectively) was significantly higher in the 2-year and 1-year trastuzumab arms compared with the observation arm. Severe CHF was the same for 2-year and 1-year trastuzumab. Of patients with confirmed LVEF decrease receiving 2-year trastuzumab, 87.5% reached acute recovery. Of patients with confirmed LVEF decrease receiving 1-year trastuzumab, 81.2% reached acute recovery. Conclusion: Long-term assessment at 8-year median follow-up confirms the low incidence of cardiac events for trastuzumab given sequentially after chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and cardiac events were reversible in the vast majority of patients.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Clinical Oncology
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    Preview · Article · Nov 2013 · Trials
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    ABSTRACT: The addition of bevacizumab to chemotherapy improves progression-free survival in metastatic breast cancer and pathological complete response rates in the neoadjuvant setting. Micrometastases are dependent on angiogenesis, suggesting that patients might benefit from anti-angiogenic strategies in the adjuvant setting. We therefore assessed the addition of bevacizumab to chemotherapy in the adjuvant setting for women with triple-negative breast cancer. For this open-label, randomised phase 3 trial we recruited patients with centrally confirmed triple-negative operable primary invasive breast cancer from 360 sites in 37 countries. We randomly allocated patients aged 18 years or older (1:1 with block randomisation; stratified by nodal status, chemotherapy [with an anthracycline, taxane, or both], hormone receptor status [negative vs low], and type of surgery) to receive a minimum of four cycles of chemotherapy either alone or with bevacizumab (equivalent of 5 mg/kg every week for 1 year). The primary endpoint was invasive disease-free survival (IDFS). Efficacy analyses were based on the intention-to-treat population, safety analyses were done on all patients who received at least one dose of study drug, and plasma biomarker analyses were done on all treated patients consenting to biomarker analyses and providing a measurable baseline plasma sample. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00528567. Between Dec 3, 2007, and March 8, 2010, we randomly assigned 1290 patients to receive chemotherapy alone and 1301 to receive bevacizumab plus chemotherapy. Most patients received anthracycline-containing therapy; 1638 (63%) of the 2591 patients had node-negative disease. At the time of analysis of IDFS, median follow-up was 31·5 months (IQR 25·6-36·8) in the chemotherapy-alone group and 32·0 months (27·5-36·9) in the bevacizumab group. At the time of the primary analysis, IDFS events had been reported in 205 patients (16%) in the chemotherapy-alone group and in 188 patients (14%) in the bevacizumab group (hazard ratio [HR] in stratified log-rank analysis 0·87, 95% CI 0·72-1·07; p=0·18). 3-year IDFS was 82·7% (95% CI 80·5-85·0) with chemotherapy alone and 83·7% (81·4-86·0) with bevacizumab and chemotherapy. After 200 deaths, no difference in overall survival was noted between the groups (HR 0·84, 95% CI 0·64-1·12; p=0·23). Exploratory biomarker assessment suggests that patients with high pre-treatment plasma VEGFR-2 might benefit from the addition of bevacizumab (Cox interaction test p=0·029). Use of bevacizumab versus chemotherapy alone was associated with increased incidences of grade 3 or worse hypertension (154 patients [12%] vs eight patients [1%]), severe cardiac events occurring at any point during the 18-month safety reporting period (19 [1%] vs two [<0·5%]), and treatment discontinuation (bevacizumab, chemotherapy, or both; 256 [20%] vs 30 [2%]); we recorded no increase in fatal adverse events with bevacizumab (four [<0·5%] vs three [<0·5%]). Bevacizumab cannot be recommended as adjuvant treatment in unselected patients with triple-negative breast cancer. Further follow-up is needed to assess the potential effect of bevacizumab on overall survival. F Hoffmann-La Roche.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · The Lancet Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Trastuzumab has established efficacy against breast cancer with overexpression or amplification of the HER2 oncogene. The standard of care is 1 year of adjuvant trastuzumab, but the optimum duration of treatment is unknown. We compared 2 years of treatment with trastuzumab with 1 year of treatment, and updated the comparison of 1 year of trastuzumab versus observation at a median follow-up of 8 years, for patients enrolled in the HERceptin Adjuvant (HERA) trial. The HERA trial is an international, multicentre, randomised, open-label, phase 3 trial comparing treatment with trastuzumab for 1 and 2 years with observation after standard neoadjuvant chemotherapy, adjuvant chemotherapy, or both in 5102 patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer. The primary endpoint was disease-free survival. The comparison of 2 years versus 1 year of trastuzumab treatment involved a landmark analysis of 3105 patients who were disease-free 12 months after randomisation to one of the trastuzumab groups, and was planned after observing at least 725 disease-free survival events. The updated intention-to-treat comparison of 1 year trastuzumab treatment versus observation alone in 3399 patients at a median follow-up of 8 years (range 0-10) is also reported. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00045032. We recorded 367 events of disease-free survival in 1552 patients in the 1 year group and 367 events in 1553 patients in the 2 year group (hazard ratio [HR] 0·99, 95% CI 0·85-1·14, p=0·86). Grade 3-4 adverse events and decreases in left ventricular ejection fraction during treatment were reported more frequently in the 2 year treatment group than in the 1 year group (342 [20·4%] vs 275 [16·3%] grade 3-4 adverse events, and 120 [7·2%] vs 69 [4·1%] decreases in left ventricular ejection fraction, respectively). HRs for a comparison of 1 year of trastuzumab treatment versus observation were 0·76 (95% CI 0·67-0·86, p<0·0001) for disease-free survival and 0·76 (0·65-0·88, p=0·0005) for overall survival, despite crossover of 884 (52%) patients from the observation group to trastuzumab therapy. 2 years of adjuvant trastuzumab is not more effective than is 1 year of treatment for patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer. 1 year of treatment provides a significant disease-free and overall survival benefit compared with observation and remains the standard of care. F Hoffmann-La Roche (Roche).
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · The Lancet
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSEIn patients with early breast cancer, adjuvant zoledronic acid (zoledronate) may reduce recurrence and improve survival. However, zoledronate is associated with the occasional development of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). We report on the frequency of ONJ and investigate oral health-related quality of life (Oral-QoL) in a large randomized trial (Adjuvant Zoledronic Acid to Reduce Recurrence [AZURE]). PATIENTS AND METHODS Three thousand three hundred sixty women with stage II or III breast cancer were randomly assigned to receive standard adjuvant systemic therapy alone or with zoledronate administered at a dose of 4 mg for 19 doses over 5 years. All potential occurrences of ONJ were reported as serious adverse events and centrally reviewed. Additionally, we invited 486 study participants to complete the Oral Health Impact Profile-14 (OHIP-14) to assess Oral-QoL around the time the patients completed 5 years on study. Multivariable linear regression was used to calculate mean scores and 95% CIs in addition to identifying independent prognostic factors.ResultsWith a median follow-up time of 73.9 months (interquartile range, 60.7 to 84.2 months), 33 possible cases of ONJ were reported, all in the zoledronate-treated patients. Twenty-six cases were confirmed as being consistent with a diagnosis of ONJ, representing a cumulative incidence of 2.1% (95% CI, 0.9% to 3.3%) in the zoledronate arm. Three hundred sixty-two patients (74%) returned the OHIP-14 questionnaire. Neither the prevalence nor severity of impacts on Oral-QoL differed significantly between zoledronate patients and control patients. CONCLUSION Adjuvant zoledronate used in the intensive schedule studied in the AZURE trial is associated with a low incidence of ONJ but does not seem to adversely affect Oral-QoL.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Journal of Clinical Oncology

  • No preview · Conference Paper · May 2013
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSETo evaluate the benefit of adjuvant trastuzumab in patients diagnosed with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) -positive invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) enrolled onto the Herceptin Adjuvant (HERA) trial. PATIENTS AND METHODS Patients randomly assigned to receive one year of trastuzumab and one year of observation in the HERA trial were included (n = 3,401). Centrally reviewed estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PgR), and HER2 copy numbers were used. First site-specific relapse pattern was evaluated for ILC and invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). The magnitude of trastuzumab benefit was assessed using the Cox proportional hazards model for disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS).ResultsMedian follow-up time was 4 years. A total of 187 ILC and 3,213 IDC patients were included. High Allred scores (6 to 8) were more common in patients with ILC than IDC for both ER (36.9% v 22.7%) and PgR (44.1% v 28.5%). A trend toward decreased HER2 copy number was observed in the ILC group. The ILC and IDC subgroups had similar patterns of first site of disease relapse. DFS hazard ratios (HRs) comparing 1 year of trastuzumab versus observation were 0.63 for ILC (95% CI, 0.34 to 1.15) and 0.77 for IDC (95% CI, 0.67 to 0.89; P for interaction = .49). The OS HRs comparing 1 year of trastuzumab versus observation were 0.60 for ILC (95% CI, 0.27 to 1.31) and 0.86 for IDC (95% CI, 0.71 to 1.06; P for interaction = .29). CONCLUSION In this retrospective analysis, there was no suggestion that patients in the ILC cohort experienced a different magnitude of benefit from adjuvant trastuzumab than those in the IDC cohort.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Journal of Clinical Oncology

  • No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Breast Care
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    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Denosumab was shown to be superior to zoledronic acid in preventing skeletal related events (SRE) in patients with breast cancer and bone metastases in a randomized, double-blind phase III study. We evaluated further results from this study related to skeletal complications and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Patients were randomized 1:1 to receive subcutaneous denosumab 120 mg (n = 1,026) and intravenous placebo, or intravenous zoledronic acid 4 mg (n = 1,020) and subcutaneous placebo every 4 weeks. Analyses reported here include the proportion of patients with one or multiple on-study SREs, time to first radiation to bone, time to first SRE or hypercalcemia of malignancy, and change in HRQoL (functional assessment of cancer therapy-general). Fewer patients receiving denosumab than zoledronic acid had an on-study SRE (31% vs. 36%, P = 0.006). The incidence of first radiation to bone was 12% (n = 123) with denosumab versus 16% (n = 162) with zoledronic acid. Denosumab prolonged the time to first radiation to bone by 26% versus zoledronic acid (HR, 0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.59-0.94, P = 0.012) and prolonged the time to first SRE or hypercalcemia of malignancy by 18% (HR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.70-0.95; P = 0.007). Ten percent more patients had a clinically meaningful improvement in HRQoL with denosumab relative to zoledronic acid, regardless of baseline pain levels. Denosumab was superior to zoledronic acid in reducing bone-related complications of metastatic breast cancer and maintained HRQoL, providing an efficacious, well-tolerated treatment option for patients with bone metastases from breast cancer.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2012 · Clinical Cancer Research

  • No preview · Conference Paper · May 2012
  • Robert E. Coleman · Helen Marshall · Richard Bell

    No preview · Article · Jan 2012 · New England Journal of Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Data suggest that the adjuvant use of bisphosphonates reduces rates of recurrence and death in patients with early-stage breast cancer. We conducted a study to determine whether treatment with zoledronic acid, in addition to standard adjuvant therapy, would improve disease outcomes in such patients. In this open-label phase 3 study, we randomly assigned 3360 patients to receive standard adjuvant systemic therapy either with or without zoledronic acid. The zoledronic acid was administered every 3 to 4 weeks for 6 doses and then every 3 to 6 months to complete 5 years of treatment. The primary end point of the study was disease-free survival. A second interim analysis revealed that a prespecified boundary for lack of benefit had been crossed. At a median follow-up of 59 months, there was no significant between-group difference in the primary end point, with a rate of disease-free survival of 77% in each group (adjusted hazard ratio in the zoledronic acid group, 0.98; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.85 to 1.13; P=0.79). Disease recurrence or death occurred in 377 patients in the zoledronic acid group and 375 of those in the control group. The numbers of deaths--243 in the zoledronic acid group and 276 in the control group--were also similar, resulting in rates of overall survival of 85.4% in the zoledronic acid group and 83.1% in the control group (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.72 to 1.01; P=0.07). In the zoledronic acid group, there were 17 confirmed cases of osteonecrosis of the jaw (cumulative incidence, 1.1%; 95% CI, 0.6 to 1.7; P<0.001) and 9 suspected cases; there were no cases in the control group. Rates of other adverse effects were similar in the two study groups. These findings do not support the routine use of zoledronic acid in the adjuvant management of breast cancer. (Funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals and the National Cancer Research Network; AZURE Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN79831382.).
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2011 · New England Journal of Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment with adjuvant trastuzumab for 1 year improves disease-free survival and overall survival in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive early breast cancer. We aimed to assess disease-free survival and overall survival after a median follow-up of 4 years for patients enrolled on the Herceptin Adjuvant (HERA) trial. The HERA trial is an international, multicentre, randomised, open-label, phase 3 trial comparing treatment with trastuzumab for 1 and 2 years with observation after standard neoadjuvant, adjuvant chemotherapy, or both in patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer. The primary endpoint was disease-free survival. After a positive first interim analysis at a median follow-up of 1 year for the comparison of treatment with trastuzumab for 1 year with observation, event-free patients in the observation group were allowed to cross over to receive trastuzumab. We report trial outcomes for the 1-year trastuzumab and observation groups at a median follow-up of 48·4 months (IQR 42·0-56·5) and assess the effect of the extensive crossover to trastuzumab. Our analysis was by intention-to-treat. The HERA trial is registered with the European Clinical Trials Database, number 2005-002385-11. The HERA trial population comprised 1698 patients randomly assigned to the observation group and 1703 to the 1-year trastuzumab group. Intention-to-treat analysis of disease-free survival showed a significant benefit in favour of patients in the 1-year trastuzumab group (4-year disease-free survival 78·6%) compared with the observation group (4-year disease-free survival 72·2%; hazard ratio [HR] 0·76; 95% CI 0·66-0·87; p<0·0001). Intention-to-treat analysis of overall survival showed no significant difference in the risk of death (4-year overall survival 89·3%vs 87·7%, respectively; HR 0·85; 95% CI 0·70-1·04; p=0·11). Overall, 885 patients (52%) of the 1698 patients in the observation group crossed over to receive trastuzumab, and began treatment at median 22·8 months (range 4·5-52·7) from randomisation. In a non-randomised comparison, patients in the selective-crossover cohort had fewer disease-free survival events than patients remaining in the observation group (adjusted HR 0·68; 95% CI 0·51-0·90; p=0·0077). Higher incidences of grade 3-4 and fatal adverse events were noted on 1-year trastuzumab than in the observation group. The most common grade 3 or 4 adverse events, each in less than 1% of patients, were congestive cardiac failure, hypertension, arthralgia, back pain, central-line infection, hot flush, headache, and diarrhoea. Treatment with adjuvant trastuzumab for 1 year after chemotherapy is associated with significant clinical benefit at 4-year median follow-up. The substantial selective crossover of patients in the observation group to trastuzumab was associated with improved outcomes for this cohort. F Hoffmann-La Roche, Michelangelo Foundation.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2011 · The Lancet Oncology
  • Richard Bell · David Cameron
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    ABSTRACT: The complexity of options available for breast cancer treatment dictates that therapeutic decisions are made on an individualised basis. Subsets of tumours defined in part by steroid hormone receptor and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status have been identified. Endocrine therapy and the HER2- targeted antibody, trastuzumab, have improved the prognosis for those patients whose tumours express the respective targets. Similar therapeutic advances for patients whose tumours lack these markers have not occurred in the metastatic setting. Tumour growth and proliferation is known to be reliant on angiogenesis, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a key pro-angiogenic mediator. Bevacizumab, a humanised anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody, is the first antiangiogenic agent to demonstrate clinical benefit when combined with chemotherapy in metastatic breast cancer, providing a doubling of progression-free survival with a manageable safety profile. This supplement considers the development, mode of action, clinical data and future therapeutic use of this agent in breast cancer.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2008 · EJC Supplements