Research on metaplastic, or squamous cell, breast cancer?


Question from DFR: Metaplastic/squamous-cell type breast cancer is a rare type of breast cancer. I'm looking to find out if any research is being done on it. Right now it seems the treatment is based solely on stage. If it is truly so much more aggressive, are there other treatment recommendations? Any data on response to chemo?
Answers - Kathy D. Miller, M.D. You are correct that we have much less information about metaplastic breast cancer because it is so much less common. Metaplastic breast cancer starts in the cells that support the breast tissue, rather than in the glandular breast tissue itself, and it behaves very differently. The treatment recommendations are based primarily on stage, because there haven't been any clinical trials specifically in women with metaplastic disease. Metaplastic disease is sometimes less sensitive to commonly used breast cancer therapies, but may be more sensitive to chemotherapies that are more commonly used for lung cancer or other cancers that have a similar squamous cell appearance. Unfortunately with more rare tumors, it's always difficult to do focused studies to be able to provide patients with clear information to guide their decisions.

On Tuesday, December 15, 2009, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Updates from the 2009 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Kathy Miller, M.D. and Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. answered your questions about the latest updates on breast cancer risk, screening techniques, treatment options, and more.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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