BACKGROUND: In the ASCO Annual Meeting, important recent developments in haematology and oncology were presented. In the 2010 ASCO meeting, interest in the field of metastatic breast cancer focused on Poly-(ADP-Ribose)-Polymerase-1 (PARP-1) inhibitors and novel treatment options in Her2-positive disease.
METHODS: For this review article, authors searched proceedings of the 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting. Abstracts providing important new insights were included and discussed.
RESULTS: Results from phase I and II studies of new drugs and novel combinations in Her2-positive disease were presented. Data suggested considerable activity of those therapies upon trastuzumab failure. Much interest focused on the role of PARP-1 inhibitors in triple-negative or BRCA-mutated disease. In those trials, PARP inhibitors were given either alone or in combination with conventional chemotherapy. While a combination of olaparib and paclitaxel produced inacceptable myelotoxicity, a combination of veliparib and temozolomide showed activity in BRCA carriers only. The same was true for PARP inhibitors alone: Activity, in general, was limited to patients harbouring BRCA mutations. Further studies evaluated the activity of VEGF and VEGF receptor blockade: While treatment with an anti-VEGF-antibody is active in metastatic breast cancer, the multi-target tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib did not add additional benefit to chemotherapy in two randomized studies.
CONCLUSION: No praxis changing data were presented in the field of metastatic breast cancer in the ACSO 2010 Annual Meeting. Still, data on PARP-1 inhibitors and new therapies for Her2-positive tumours yielded insights that will eventually lead the path to novel and effective treatment options.