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The perspective of patients gains weight in trials seeking quality of life

Madrid, Apr 10 (EFE) .- Although breast cancer patients have always participated in clinical trials, there is an increasing tendency to structure them into groups so that, from their perspective, studies are designed that seek to improve quality of life and reduce toxicities resulting from treatments.

This has been one of the issues that have been addressed in the 13 virtual Symposium of the Spanish Breast Cancer Research Group (GEICAM), held on April 8 and 9, in which liquid biopsy, the cancer genomics or advances in localized and metastatic tumors.

The coordinators of this scientific appointment and members of the Board of Directors of GEICAM, the oncologists Ander Urruticoechea and Isabel Álvarez, in statements to EFE, have analyzed the future in research on the most frequent cancer in women.

“The novelty is the interest in structuring that voice of the patients in the design of clinical trials and even design them with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life,” said Dr. Urruticoechea.

The perspective offered by the patient is especially relevant in de-escalation studies “where less treatment is given to have the same efficacy rates but with less toxicity”, the specialist has stated.

During the conference, the scientific director of GEICAM, Eva Carrasco, specified that these de-escalation studies are carried out in highly selected populations in which the standard treatment works well, although with drawbacks that affect the day-to-day, such as side effects or transfers to the hospital to receive it.

Liquid biopsy, which facilitates diagnosis without resorting to tissue removal, has been another topic since, although it is still an experimental procedure, specialists trust in a relevant role in the future.

“It allows us to know the molecular alterations of the tumor in a non-invasive way, in addition to determining which breast cancer patients with localized disease may have more or less risk of relapse based on these circulating alterations in peripheral blood,” said Dr. Isabel Alvarez.

Regarding metastatic breast cancer, one of the workhorses of research, requires not only new drugs, but also those that can be tolerated in long-term treatments.

“In some subtypes of breast cancer we have achieved very long survivals, almost a chronification, although it is necessary to change treatments and they are more or less toxic,” pointed out the oncologist.

One of the leading treatments, immunotherapy, has so far only shown efficacy in the most aggressive subtype of breast cancer, triple negative, especially in advanced disease.

“For this subtype, immunotherapy has been a revolution because there were not many more treatments, but the breast does not seem the perfect tumor for this type of therapy, it is still a pending issue,” Dr. Urruticoechea explained.

Both oncologists, from the Guipúzcoa Cancer Management Unit, have stressed that breast cancer is experiencing a “transition stage” towards an increasingly individualized approach and that the multidisciplinary of specialties, in which research is included as part of the boarding, has been one of the great steps.c

(c) EFE Agency

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