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DEVELOPING NEW TREATMENTS FOR INVASIVE LOBULAR CARCINOMA

As part of a Clinical Fellowship project with Breast Cancer Trials, Dr Anna Sokolova, is examining a new treatment approach directed towards Invasive Lobular Carcinoma.

What is Invasive Lobular Carcinoma?

Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC) is a breast cancer that begins in the milk glands of the breast and has spread beyond the lobules, potentially spreading to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.

“So Invasive Lobular Carcinoma is a special breast cancer subtype. It’s the second most common breast cancer subtype, and it accounts for around 10 to 15% of all breast cancer cases. So that is around 2,400 new breast cancer diagnoses per year in Australia.”

“Invasive Lobular Carcinoma is also unique in terms of its pathology and clinical behaviour. And patients with Invasive Lobular Carcinoma show worse long term prognostic outcomes compared to patients who are diagnosed with the most common breast cancer subtype.”

Listen to the Podcast

Listen to our conversation with Dr Anna Sokolova, who is examining a new treatment approach directed towards Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. 

What are the Current Treatments for this Type of Breast Cancer?

“So, in terms of treatment, patients with Invasive Lobular Carcinoma do not have a specific targeted treatment strategy that is unique to their clinical needs. So, patients with Invasive Lobular Carcinoma are treated in the same way as other breast cancer patients using standard treatment protocols that include surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.”

“So, there is emerging evidence that a protein called ROS1 is an important target in Invasive Lobular breast cancer. And there are two recently established clinical trials in Europe that are assessing the efficacy of ROS1, targeted treatment in managing patients with Invasive Lobular breast cancer. So, my clinical fellowship is investigating the expression of the ROS1 protein in these tumours and trying to determine whether ROS1 is a useful biomarker that can help to predict which patients will respond to this targeted treatment.”

Is there Potential for a Clinical Trial down the Track?

“So lobular breast cancer patients are not well represented in clinical trials, and they do not have specific treatment options available. So, there is an unmet need for this patient group to have trials that are specifically devoted to their disease process.”

“There are two clinical trials that are currently being established, in Europe, and there’s potential to expand these clinical trials to Australian and New Zealand patients in the future.”

“I think pathology is extremely important in breast cancer trials research. It is a multidisciplinary approach, but pathology has a lot to offer in terms of identifying biomarkers, assessing tissue samples, and driving the laboratory aspect of clinical research, and giving a different perspective on clinical outcomes.”

Dr Sokolova’s Hope for the Future

“I hope that this research will identify a clinically useful biomarker that will help to identify patients who may benefit from new targeted treatment approaches in Invasive Lobular breast cancer. So, there are two early clinical trials that have been established overseas looking at ROS1 targeted treatment in these patients.”

“Depending on the results of these trials, they may be offered overseas to other countries, and that may include Australian and New Zealand patients.”

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