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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. Research article

    A nested cohort study of 6,248 early breast cancer patients treated in neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy trials investigating the prognostic value of chemotherapy-related toxicities

    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...

    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

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:306

    Published on: 29 December 2015

  2. Research article

    Response and survival of breast cancer intrinsic subtypes following multi-agent neoadjuvant chemotherapy

    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...

    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

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:303

    Published on: 18 December 2015

  3. Research article

    Genomic aberrations in young and elderly  breast cancer patients

    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...

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

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:266

    Published on: 15 October 2015

  4. Opinion

    Neoadjuvant trials in early breast cancer: pathological response at surgery and correlation to longer term outcomes – what does it all mean?

    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...

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

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:234

    Published on: 22 September 2015

  5. Minireview

    Relevance of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in breast cancer

    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...

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

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:202

    Published on: 24 August 2015

  6. Review

    Progress in adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer: an overview

    Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer and cancer death worldwide. Although most patients present with localized breast cancer and may be rendered disease-free with local therapy, distant recurrence ...

    Jesus Anampa, Della Makower and Joseph A. Sparano

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:195

    Published on: 17 August 2015

  7. Research article

    Constitutive phosphorylated STAT3-associated gene signature is predictive for trastuzumab resistance in primary HER2-positive breast cancer

    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...

    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…

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:177

    Published on: 3 August 2015

  8. Research article

    Annexin A1 expression in a pooled breast cancer series: association with tumor subtypes and prognosis

    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...

    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…

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:156

    Published on: 2 July 2015

  9. Research article

    Influence of CYP19A1 polymorphisms on the treatment of breast cancer with aromatase inhibitors: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    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...

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

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:139

    Published on: 11 June 2015

  10. Review

    Targeted therapies for ER+/HER2- metastatic breast cancer

    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...

    Mutsuko Yamamoto-Ibusuki, Monica Arnedos and Fabrice André

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:137

    Published on: 9 June 2015

  11. Research article

    Effects of an 18-week exercise programme started early during breast cancer treatment: a randomised controlled trial

    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 ...

    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

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:121

    Published on: 8 June 2015

  12. Opinion

    Obesity and male breast cancer: provocative parallels?

    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...

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

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:134

    Published on: 4 June 2015

  13. Review

    Endocrine therapy considerations in postmenopausal patients with hormone receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 negative advanced breast cancers

    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...

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

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:46

    Published on: 5 March 2015

  14. Commentary

    Candidate gene-environment interactions in breast cancer

    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...

    Olivia Fletcher and Frank Dudbridge

    BMC Medicine 2014 12:195

    Published on: 17 October 2014

  15. Question and Answer

    Video Q&A: molecular profiling of breast cancer

    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.

    Carlos Caldas

    BMC Medicine 2013 11:150

    Published on: 18 June 2013