Updates on anthracyclines and topo II gene?

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Question from RuthB: Last year research suggested that anthracyclines may not benefit most women, but only those with the topo II gene. Any updates on this? Has a commercial test for this gene been released yet, and if one already had chemo with an anthracycline, would it be of any value to have the test?
Answers - Generosa Grana, M.D., F.A.C.P No new data has been presented since Dr. Slamon presented data on topo II, also called TOP2A, and its relationship to anthracycline activity. There is a commercially available test to make decisions about the use of anthracyclines in breast cancer, but I'm not aware of anyone who is using it. And this test would be of absolutely no value to someone who has already had anthracycline and remains cancer-free. This is an area of much debate in breast cancer right now. There is a great interest in trying to narrow down who should get anthracycline and where the risk of cardiac toxicity may be acceptable versus those patients that could be treated with other regimens, such as taxanes. This remains an open question.
Carol Kaplan It's important to recognize that topo II activity comes in conjunction with HER-2 activity. It does not seem that those patients who get Herceptin get additional benefit from anthracycline regimens when compared to regimens that do not contain anthracycline. Although this data is preliminary, it seems that the benefits of trastuzumab are present with or without anthracycline.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Updates From the 2008 ASCO Annual Meeting featured Generosa Grana, M.D., F.A.C.P. and Carol Kaplan, M.D. answering your questions about the latest research advances on screening, treatment, side effects, and more.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in June 2008.

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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