• Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers

    San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

    Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Care

    The San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held annually in the Texas city that is its namesake, attracts thousands of researchers, physicians, health professionals, patient advocates, and others who share the mission of advancing the battle against breast cancer. The symposium provides a critical opportunity for researchers to present their latest findings, learn about the work of other scientists, and share ideas for future studies.

    Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD in her labResearcher Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD, shown here in her lab, was presented with the 2012 AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. 

    This year's event, which ran from December 10 through 14, drew more than 7,000 attendees from nearly 100 countries and included more than 1,400 research presentations.

    Researchers and physicians from the Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute comprise a major contingent at each year's symposium. This year, more than 30 members of the center's faculty were in attendance, presenting dozens of research reports and leading educational sessions and career development forums.

    Highlights from 2013:

    Highlights from 2012:

    • Eric Winer, MD, reports on research findings that patients with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer who took tamoxifen for 10 years had a higher survival rate and lower chance of recurrence than those who took the medication for five years.
    • Researcher Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD, was presented with the 2012 AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research. Dr. Polyak's research focuses on identifying molecular alterations between normal and cancerous breast tissue using various technologies, determining their consequences and utilizing them to improve the clinical management of patients with breast cancer.

    Highlights from 2011:

    • Report from Harold Burstein, MD, PhD, on findings of the CLEOPATRA trial, which looked at combining pertuzumab with trastuzumab and docetaxel in women with metastatic HER2-positive disease; the BOLERO-2 trial, which focused on combining everolimus and exemestane in women with metastatic breast cancer; and the controversy surrounding the effectiveness of osteoporosis drugs in preventing breast cancer.
    • Report from Jennifer Ligibel, MD, on how the findings from the LISA trial, which she presented at the 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, will serve as the basis of a large study that looks at lifestyle intervention and its impact on breast cancer outcomes in women who are obese.
    • Report from Michael Hassett, MD, MPH, who describes some of the issues raised about the costs of cancer care during a panel discussion, including current approaches to controlling costs; the ethical conflicts doctors face when patients need a treatment not covered by insurance; whether cost-effectiveness analysis is a useful tool; and how the costs of care are perceived by doctors, patients, insurance companies, and the government.
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