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Journal of Hematology and Oncology

, 1:16

First Online: 01 October 2008Received: 31 July 2008Accepted: 01 October 2008


IntroductionBreast cancer is the most common female cancer and the second most common cause of female cancer-related deaths in the United States. World-wide, more than one million women will be diagnosed with breast cancer annually. In 2007, more than 175,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. However, deaths due to breast cancer have decreased in the recent years in part because of improved screening techniques, surgical interventions, understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease, and utilization of traditional chemotherapies in a more efficacious manner. One of the more exciting areas of improvement in the treatment of breast cancer is the entrance of novel therapies now available to oncologists. In the field of cancer therapeutics, the area of targeted and biologic therapies has been progressing at a rapid rate, particularly in the treatment of breast cancer.

Since the advent of imatinib for the successful treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia in the 2001, clinicians have been searching for comparable therapies that could be as efficacious and as tolerable. In order for targeted therapies to be effective, the agent must be able to inhibit critical regulatory pathways which promote tumor cell growth and proliferation. The targets must be identifiable, quantifiable and capable of being interrupted.

In the field of breast cancer, two advances in targeted therapy have led to great strides in the understanding and treatment of breast cancer, namely hormonal therapy for estrogen positive receptor breast cancer and antibodies directed towards the inhibition of human epidermal growth factor receptor HER2. These advances have revolutionized the understanding and the treatment strategies for breast cancer. Building upon these successes, a host of novel agents are currently being investigated and used in clinical trials that will hopefully prove to be as fruitful. This review will focus on novel therapies in the field of breast cancer with a focus on metastatic breast cancer MBC and updates from the recent annual ASCO meeting and contains a summary of the results.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1756-8722-1-16 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: David Chu - Janice Lu


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