Radiation or targeted therapy?

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Question from Sunflake: I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer and had 7 chemos and a mastectomy. The pathologist's report after surgery stated that the removed breast had had no cancer cells and the lymph nodes were negative. Do I proceed to radiotherapy or targeted therapy?
Answers - Andrew D. Seidman, M.D. I'll make a couple of comments within the limitations of the information provided. First, it's delightful to hear that following pre-operative chemotherapy that there was no evidence of cancer in the surgically removed breast tissue. This is what we commonly refer to as a Pathological Complete Response. Similarly, the absence of cancer in any lymph nodes portends a very favorable long-term recurrence-free survival. The response as pertains to the use of radiation would depend upon other features of your initial presentation, such as the tumor size, the presence or absence of skin involvement, or inflammatory breast cancer; thus, I cannot render any opinions about the advisability of radiation based on the information provided. As far as targeted therapy goes, this would be determined presently based on the presence or absence of estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and HER2. Again in the absence of knowing these, I cannot comment on the relevance of hormonal therapy or Herceptin in this specific scenario.
Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. These are very good questions and I encourage you to talk to your own physician and engage him or her in conversation to address the issues that Dr. Seidman brought up.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Targeted Therapies: What Is Right for You? featured Andrew Seidman, M.D. and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answering your questions about different kinds of targeted therapies and how they work.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in July 2006.

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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