Current treatment patterns of advanced hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer in Belgium

BJMO - volume 16, issue 4, june 2022

G. Jerusalem MD, PhD, A. Awada MD, PhD, K. Detournay DVM , K. Punie MD


Several treatment guidelines exist for hormone receptor-positive/HER2-negative advanced breast cancer (HR+/HER2- aBC), but various factors influence their local implementation. We performed a 3-round Delphi methodbased study in search of a consensus regarding HR+/HER2- aBC management in Belgian practice. Panel questionnaires included questions related to treatment patterns, drug-drug interactions (DDIs) and side-effect management (SEM). A consensus threshold of 75% was applied. The results were evaluated for concordance with the ABC5 guidelines. Treatment patterns in HR+/HER2- aBC reached moderate to high consensus among Belgian oncologists and showed high concordance with ABC5 guidelines. A CDK4/6 inhibitor is the preferred first-line treatment, combined with an aromatase inhibitor or with fulvestrant in the endocrine-sensitive and -resistant setting, respectively. Alpelisib-fulvestrant is the preferred second-line treatment in presence of a PIK3CA-activating mutation. Some practices regarding DDI and SEM needed further discussion before reaching consensus highlighting the need for additional training and incorporation of these topics in guidelines.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2022;16(4):176–86)

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Escalation and de-escalation strategies in early breast cancer

BJMO - volume 16, issue 3, may 2022

D. Taylor MD, K. Punie MD, E. de Azambuja MD, PhD


Early breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women worldwide. Different subtypes have been identified, and with them, new treatment strategies have emerged. In order to elaborate a personalised treatment, clinicians need reliable pathological and molecular disease subtyping, refined assessments of the risk of relapse, and predictive markers to estimate treatment benefit. Combining these elements allows for de-escalation in some patients and, on the contrary, identifies those who should receive more intensive therapy and serve as candidates for escalation strategies in standard practice or clinical trials. This article reviews the de-escalation and escalation strategies currently available and will explore future treatment perspectives in early breast cancer.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2022;16(3):102–13)

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Congress highlights SABCS 2021

BJMO - volume 16, issue 2, march 2022

J. Blokken PhD, PharmD, T. Feys MSc, MBA, H. Wildiers MD, PhD, K. Punie MD


The hybrid SABCS 2021 could only attract a few hundred life attendees, but like every year, several key abstracts were presented. In early stage, a meta-analysis on aromatase inhibitor versus tamoxifen in premenopausal ER+ patients showed lower recurrence with aromatase inhibitors, while the impact on overall survival remains unclear. An EBCTCG meta-analysis showed no benefit for an anthracycline-taxane adjuvant chemotherapy regimen compared to a taxane only regimen, if the taxane was given sequentially after the anthracycline, confirming the role of anthracycline-free chemotherapy regimens in a large proportion of patients with early breast cancer. In ER+ metastatic disease, the new SERD elacestrant was more potent than classical endocrine therapy after progression on first/second line endocrine therapy. Datopotamab deruxtecan is a promising new ADC targeting TROP2 with clear activity in triple negative disease. In HER2 positive disease, T-DXd displayed substantial antitumour effect on brain metastases, and pyrotinib can be added to the list of highly potent HER2 tyrosine kinase inhibitors. In patients with HER2 mutations, neratinib showed clear antitumour activity both in ER positive and triple negative metastatic breast cancer. In the surgery field, black and Hispanic women were shown to be at higher risk for breast cancer related lymphedema after axillary lymph node dissection. The Italian SINODAR-ONE trial built further on the Z0011 trial and confirmed that axillary surgery can be omitted in patients with breast cancer patients and one or two macro metastatic sentinel nodes.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2022;16(2):79–87)

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Genomics of metastatic breast cancer

BJMO - 2022, issue 1, february 2022

T. Geukens MD, M. De Schepper MD, F. Richard PhD, M. Maetens PhD, K. Van Baelen MD, S. Leduc MSc, E. Isnaldi MD, PhD, H.L. Nguyen MSc, I. Bachir MD, E. Vanden Berghe MSc, W. Van Den Bogaert MD, K. Punie MD, P. Neven MD, PhD, H. Wildiers MD, PhD, G. Floris MD, PhD, C. Desmedt PhD


The purpose of this review is to highlight the recent knowledge gathered on the genomics of metastatic breast cancer (BC), together with the clinical implications. Through large sequencing efforts, the genomic profile of BC is increasingly being deciphered, with a limited number of those findings having resulted in genomicmatched treatment options. The pace at which new discoveries are made is highest in the early setting, where large samples can easily be accessed through leftover tissue of resection specimens, and smaller diagnostic biopsies are also available. In the metastatic setting however, residual tissue from clinically indicated biopsies or resections are scarce. Some efforts have been undertaken through (inter)national, institutional, clinical trial- or patient-driven initiatives. They have highlighted important differences between the genomic landscape of metastatic versus primary tumour tissues. Especially in hormone receptor positive HER2 negative (HR+/HER2-) disease, driver mutations continue to accumulate after dissemination, most of them in the ESR1 or ERBB2 genes, or in genes involved in transcription regulation, MAPK- or PI3K-signaling pathways. Importantly, the genomic landscape is not homogeneous even within one patient, and significant heterogeneity is seen on an intra-patient, inter-lesion and intra-lesion level. This poses clinical challenges, with different subclones possibly harbouring differential sensitivity to systemic treatments and single biopsies not accurately reflecting the full molecular profile. Finally, through liquid biopsies, a more complete and less invasive insight into the tumour’s characteristic could theoretically be retrieved. However, it is unclear how well these profiles correlate with the actual diversity of the different lesions. Importantly, rapid autopsy programs have been shown to enhance research on the genomics of metastatic BC, and one such program was recently launched at UZ/KU Leuven.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2022;16(1):18–28)

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Highlights in breast cancer

BJMO - volume 15, issue 8, december 2021

A.M. Dekker MSc, T. Feys MSc, MBA, K. Punie MD, H. Wildiers MD, PhD

At this year’s annual meeting of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) experts shared some game-changing data for the treatment of breast cancer (BC). In advanced HER2+ metastatic breast cancer m(BC), the DESTINY-Breast03 trial performed a head-to-head comparison of T-DM1 and trastuzumab deruxtecan (T-Dxd) following initial treatment with trastuzumab and a taxane, showing a major PFS benefit for T-DXd without major toxicity issues, establishing T-DXd as the new standard of care in this setting. In luminal breast cancer, the final analysis of the GIM-4 study supports the use of 7 years instead of 5 years adjuvant endocrine therapy in postmenopausal patients with hormone receptor positive (HR+)/HER2- early BC. For advanced stage HR+/HER2- BC, the MONALEESA-2 study shows >1y OS benefit when adding the CDK4/6 inhibitor ribociclib to letrozole as first-line treatment. Finally, in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), the phase III BrighTNess study showed that addition of carboplatin to neoadjuvant chemotherapy provides long term EFS benefit. In metastatic TNBC, OS data of KEYNOTE-355 further support the use of first-line pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy in advanced PD-L1+ TNBC.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2021;15(8):390–7)

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Highlights in breast cancer

BJMO - volume 15, issue 5, september 2021

J. Blokken PhD, PharmD, T. Feys MSc, MBA, K. Punie MD, H. Wildiers MD, PhD

ASCO 2021 featured one crucial, practice-changing trial in early breast cancer: the OlympiA trial showed that one year of adjuvant olaparib improves invasive disease-free survival by 8.8% compared to placebo, when administered to high risk early breast patients (triple negative or hormone sensitive and HER2 negative) with a germline BRCA1 or 2 mutation. Furthermore, ECOG-ACRIN EA1131 failed to show improved outcome in triple negative breast cancer treated without pathological complete response after neoadjuvant chemo-therapy with platinum based chemotherapy compared to the current standard capecitabine. GeparNUEVO for the first time showed long term outcome with anti-PD(L)1 therapy administered with neoadjuvant chemotherapy in triple negative breast cancer. In the advanced setting, interesting overall survival updates of the PALOMA-3 and MONALEESA-3 studies were presented. Furthermore, the SYsucc-002 trial demonstrated that trastuzumab plus endocrine therapy was non-inferior to and had fewer toxicities compared with trastuzumab plus chemotherapy in patients with HR+/HER2- metastatic breast cancer. In addition, this article will touch upon several other studies that are notable.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2021;15(5):208-17)

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A case of HER2-positive breast cancer with rapidly progressing CNS metastases

BJMO - volume 15, issue 3, may 2021

J. Heylen , N. De Moor MD, H. Janssen MD, PhD, K. Punie MD, H. Wildiers MD, PhD


A 53-year old woman previously treated for stage IIIc Her2-positive breast cancer presented to the outpatient oncology department with symptoms of holocranial headache irradiating to the neck in combination with morning sickness and vomitus. Brain CT showed multiple cerebellar metastases with signs of tonsillar herniation through the foramen magnum. Since radiotherapy was deemed unsafe given the possibility that transient increase of intracranial pressure could worsen the herniation, urgent treatment with corticosteroids and capecitabine-lapatinib was started. The metastases and peritumoral oedema initially responded well, which allowed subsequent pancranial radiotherapy after three weeks of systemic therapy. We provide a short overview of studies showing that systemic therapy can induce tumour response in brain metastases related to HER2+ positive disease.

BELG J MED ONCOL 2021;15(3):123-7

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