The Top 3 Abstracts from ASCO 2013 by A/Prof Gary Richardson

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ASSOCIATE Professor Gary Richardson has selected what he feels are the 3 most important and most relevant Abstracts to the Australian Oncology community from this years ASCO conference, held recently in Chicago. Gary is the Director of Oncology Clinics Victoria, Director of Cabrini Academic Haematology & Oncology Services and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Monash University.  He is also Chairman of the Medical Oncology Group of Australia, President of the Private Cancer Physicians of Australia and Chairman of Foundation 49: Men’s Health.

1. aTTom: Long-term effects of continuing adjuvant tamoxifen to 10 years versus stopping at 5 years in 6,953 women with early breast cancer.

“The results are “practice changing” for premenopausal women with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.”

At the San Antonio Meeting in 2012, the ATLAS Study showed that ten years of adjuvant treatment with tamoxifen was significantly better than the standard 5 years in terms of reducing the risk for breast cancer recurrence and disease-specific death. The aTTom trial was conducted in the United Kingdom and confirms the results from the ATLAS trial. In this study, nearly 7000 women received 5 years of tamoxifen and then were randomly assigned to either stop treatment or continue treatment to 10 years; the longer-treatment group had fewer breast cancer recurrences compared with the 5-year treatment group (28% vs 32%; P = .003). Longer treatment also reduced breast cancer mortality compared with 5 years of treatment (392 vs 443 deaths after recurrence; 21% vs 24%; P = .06). The results are “practice changing” for premenopausal women with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. These results are especially relevant for women who are at high risk of recurrence.

First Author: R. G. Gray. Abstract No: 5. Source reference: J Clin Oncol 31, 2013 (suppl; abstr 5).


Cervical cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in women of developing countries. Early detection of the precancerous changes, with referral for simple but cancer preventing treatment, is the difference between life and death for these women. While we are privileged to have a funded national screening program in Australia, no such screening program exists in India or many of the other countries of the developing world. In India, each year, 142 000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 77 000 die of their disease.  The strengths and outcomes of this study were extraordinary. Over a 15 year period, they followed 150 000 women with screening for precancerous changes using a simple method with vinegar swabs!! Among the 75 000 women who were part of the screening intervention, they reduced the chance of dying from cervix cancer by over 30% compared to the other half of the women in the trial (known as the comparison group). It is estimated that if this is used in all developing countries that around 250 000 deaths would be prevented from this disease each year. This study demonstrates the enormous need for inexpensive cancer screening techniques in the third world countries.

 First Author: S. S. Shastri. Abstract No: 2. Source reference: J Clin Oncol 31, 2013 (suppl; abstr 2)


Your name here tablet3. Biomarkers (BM) France: Results of routine EGFR, HER2, KRAS, BRAF, PI3KCA mutations detection and EML4-ALK gene fusion assessment on the first 10,000 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients (pts).

“A comprehensive national cancer genomic testing service allowing for the realisation of delivering personalised medicine.”

The importance of this abstract is the ability of a government to develop a comprehensive national cancer genomic testing service, allowing for the realisation of delivering personalised medicine. Unfortunately our country does not have the insight or ability to set up a similar process.

Author: F. Barlesi. Abstract No: 8000. Source Reference: J Clin Oncol 31, 2013 (suppl; abstr 8000)


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