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Spotlight on breast cancer

Guest editor: Dr Debu Tripathy

Breast cancer is the most common cancer type in women worldwide, with around 1.5 million new cases diagnosed every year. Despite the high incidence, advances in detection and treatment in recent years mean that more women than ever are surviving breast cancer, with an 89% 5-year survival rate in Western countries. Although men can also be affected, male breast cancer is very rare, accounting for less than 1% of all cancer in men.

Advances in molecular subtyping of breast cancer and the development of targeted therapies have greatly impacted breast cancer survival rates, and many clinical trials are now underway to determine the best therapeutic strategy for those with different types of breast cancer, as well as in the pre- and post-surgical setting. Although breast cancer risk increases greatly with age, around 7% of all cases occur in women under 40, and there are unique issues facing younger women with breast cancer, such as long-term treatment effects and the impact on fertility. As people are living longer with breast cancer, clinicians are increasingly recognizing the impact of disease prognosis and treatment on quality of life, with ongoing efforts aimed at defining the optimal treatment strategy for individual patients.

This article collection in BMC Medicine aims to highlight the latest progress in breast cancer risk profiling, detection and treatment, as well as the long-term issues faced by those surviving breast cancer. We are seeking submissions of research articles covering all areas of breast cancer medicine, including clinical studies of new therapies, molecular genomics and translational advances.

  1. Content type: Research article

    The relationship between chemotherapy-related toxicities and prognosis is unclear. Previous studies have examined the association of myelosuppression parameters or neuropathy with survival and reported conflic...

    Authors: Jean E. Abraham, Louise Hiller, Leila Dorling, Anne-Laure Vallier, Janet Dunn, Sarah Bowden, Susan Ingle, Linda Jones, Richard Hardy, Christopher Twelves, Christopher J. Poole, Paul D P Pharoah, Carlos Caldas and Helena M. Earl

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:306

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  2. Content type: Research article

    Predicting treatment benefit and/or outcome before any therapeutic intervention has taken place would be clinically very useful. Herein, we evaluate the ability of the intrinsic subtypes and the risk of relaps...

    Authors: Aleix Prat, Cheng Fan, Aranzazu Fernández, Katherine A. Hoadley, Rossella Martinello, Maria Vidal, Margarita Viladot, Estela Pineda, Ana Arance, Montserrat Muñoz, Laia Paré, Maggie C. U. Cheang, Barbara Adamo and Charles M. Perou

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:303

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  3. Content type: Research article

    Age at breast cancer diagnosis is a known prognostic factor. Previously, several groups including ours have shown that young age at diagnosis is associated with higher prevalence of basal-like tumors and aggre...

    Authors: Hatem A. Azim Jr, Bastien Nguyen, Sylvain Brohée, Gabriele Zoppoli and Christos Sotiriou

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:266

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  4. Content type: Research article

    The clinical significance of progesterone receptor (PgR) expression in estrogen receptor-negative (ER–) breast cancer is controversial. Herein, we systemically investigate the clinicopathologic features, molec...

    Authors: Ke-Da Yu, Yi-Zhou Jiang, Shuang Hao and Zhi-Ming Shao

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:254

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  5. Content type: Opinion

    Neoadjuvant breast cancer trials are important for speeding up the introduction of new treatments for patients with early breast cancer and for the highly productive translational research which they facilitat...

    Authors: Helena Earl, Elena Provenzano, Jean Abraham, Janet Dunn, Anne-Laure Vallier, Ioannis Gounaris and Louise Hiller

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:234

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  6. Content type: Minireview

    While breast cancer has not been considered a cancer amenable to immunotherapeutic approaches, recent studies have demonstrated evidence of significant immune cell infiltration via tumor-infiltrating lymphocyt...

    Authors: Sathana Dushyanthen, Paul A. Beavis, Peter Savas, Zhi Ling Teo, Chenhao Zhou, Mariam Mansour, Phillip K. Darcy and Sherene Loi

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:202

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  7. Content type: Research article

    The likelihood of recurrence in patients with breast cancer who have HER2-positive tumors is relatively high, although trastuzumab is a remarkably effective drug in this setting. Signal transducer and activato...

    Authors: Amir Sonnenblick, Sylvain Brohée, Debora Fumagalli, Delphine Vincent, David Venet, Michail Ignatiadis, Roberto Salgado, Gert Van den Eynden, Françoise Rothé, Christine Desmedt, Patrick Neven, Sibylle Loibl, Carsten Denkert, Heikki Joensuu, Sherene Loi, Nicolas Sirtaine…

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:177

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  8. Content type: Research article

    Annexin A1 (ANXA1) is a protein related with the carcinogenesis process and metastasis formation in many tumors. However, little is known about the prognostic value of ANXA1 in breast cancer. The purpose of th...

    Authors: Marcelo Sobral-Leite, Jelle Wesseling, Vincent T. H. B. M. Smit, Heli Nevanlinna, Martine H. van Miltenburg, Joyce Sanders, Ingrid Hofland, Fiona M. Blows, Penny Coulson, Gazinska Patrycja, Jan H. M. Schellens, Rainer Fagerholm, Päivi Heikkilä, Kristiina Aittomäki, Carl Blomqvist, Elena Provenzano…

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:156

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  9. Content type: Research article

    Many clinical trials have shown the efficacy of aromatase inhibitors (AIs) in the management of breast cancer (BC). There is growing evidence that CYP19A1 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are associated wit...

    Authors: Osvaldo Artigalás, Tazio Vanni, Mara Helena Hutz, Patricia Ashton-Prolla and Ida Vanessa Schwartz

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:139

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  10. Content type: Review

    The majority of breast cancers present with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2)-negative features and might benefit from endocrine therapy. Although endocrine ther...

    Authors: Mutsuko Yamamoto-Ibusuki, Monica Arnedos and Fabrice André

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:137

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  11. Content type: Research article

    Exercise started shortly after breast cancer diagnosis might prevent or diminish fatigue complaints. The Physical Activity during Cancer Treatment (PACT) study was designed to primarily examine the effects of ...

    Authors: Noémie Travier, Miranda J. Velthuis, Charlotte N. Steins Bisschop, Bram van den Buijs, Evelyn M. Monninkhof, Frank Backx, Maartje Los, Frans Erdkamp, Haiko J. Bloemendal, Carla Rodenhuis, Marnix A.J. de Roos, Marlies Verhaar, Daan ten Bokkel Huinink, Elsken van der Wall, Petra H.M. Peeters and Anne M. May

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:121

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  12. Content type: Opinion

    While rare compared to female breast cancer the incidence of male breast cancer (MBC) has increased in the last few decades. Without comprehensive epidemiological studies, the explanation for the increased inc...

    Authors: Matthew P. Humphries, V. Craig Jordan and Valerie Speirs

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:134

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  13. Content type: Review

    The standard of care for patients with hormone receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 negative advanced breast cancer is endocrine therapy. Endocrine agents, including aromatase inhib...

    Authors: Ilenia Migliaccio, Luca Malorni, Christopher D Hart, Cristina Guarducci and Angelo Di Leo

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:46

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  14. Content type: Commentary

    Gene-environment interactions have the potential to shed light on biological processes leading to disease, identify individuals for whom risk factors are most relevant, and improve the accuracy of epidemiologi...

    Authors: Olivia Fletcher and Frank Dudbridge

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2014 12:195

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  15. Content type: Forum

    Next generation sequencing (NGS) coupled with sophisticated bioinformatics tools yields an unprecedented amount of information regarding tumor genetics, with the potential to reveal insights into tumor behavio...

    Authors: Debu Tripathy, Kathleen Harnden, Kimberly Blackwell and Mark Robson

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2014 12:140

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  16. Content type: Question and Answer

    In this video Q&A, we talk to Professor Carlos Caldas about the identification of breast cancer subtypes through molecular profiling, and the clinical implications for diagnosis and treatment.

    Authors: Carlos Caldas

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2013 11:150

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