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Breast surgery in patients with stage IV disease may increase survival

The ASCO Post, explaining the results of a study by Ross Mudgway (a medical student!) and colleagues:

To assess the impact of primary tumor resection on survival in patients with HER2-positive stage IV breast cancer, they conducted a retrospective cohort study of 3,231 women with the disease, using records from the National Cancer Database from 2010 to 2012.

...

The researchers found that surgery was associated with a 44% increased chance of survival, assuming the majority of patients also had systemic treatment.

Read the abstract here, first presented at the AACR Annual Meeting in the USA.

Few things I find interesting:

1. The primary author is a medical student. How cool is that!

2. There's a working database that's a minefield of research possibilities, even for those who are in their early stages of their medical careers. In the Philippines, there's an urgent need for a   comprehensive cancer registry.

3. Patients who have metastatic breast cancer I'm meeting for the first time would invariably ask me if they, too, can have surgery. Unless the patient's breast mass has secondary infection, I would refer to surgery for toilet mastectomy or debridement. This study shows that there is surgical benefit for those whose breast cancer profile is Her2 positive. I hope this makes its way to our guidelines eventually.

(HT: Dr. Dennis Lee Sacadlan for sharing the link, via Facebook)

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