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CU Cancer Center News and Stories

Breast Cancer

Research    Patient Care    Community    Breast Cancer    Surgical Oncology

Breast Cancer Research Gathers Data to Help Women Understand Well-Being Outcomes After Surgery

When a woman receives a breast cancer diagnosis, she may have many questions about her immediate future – the stage of the disease, what treatment she’ll receive, where it will happen.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date October 22, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Breast Cancer    Advocacy

Genetic Counseling Helps Young Woman Take Control After Testing Positive for BRCA2

The first time Caley Kurchinski had to think about a double mastectomy, she was only 16. Her mother had died at age 36 from breast cancer, when Caley was 6. When she became a teenager, Caley’s family physician began telling her she needed to get genetic testing.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date October 15, 2021
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Patient Care    Awareness    Breast Cancer    Surgical Oncology    Plastic Surgery

Young Mom’s Breast Cancer Journey Highlights Importance of Breast Cancer Screening in Younger Women

Kirsten Stewart was just putting on lotion, like she does every morning after her shower. That particular morning, though, she noticed something different: a lump that hadn’t been there before and that definitely wasn’t normal. She was only 30 years old.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date October 07, 2021
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Research    Breast Cancer

Putting a Target on Breast Cancer That Spreads to the Brain

Breast cancer patients whose cancer spreads to the brain may soon have new treatment options, thanks to research led by CU Cancer Center member Diana Cittelly, PhD.

Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date September 20, 2021
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Research    Breast Cancer

Seeking a Unique Treatment for Lobular Breast Cancer

Though the two main histological types of breast cancer — lobular and ductal — are treated with the same hormonal therapies, women with lobular breast cancer often have recurrence or metastasis of the disease several years after their initial treatment.

Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date July 28, 2021
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Research    Breast Cancer

Promising New Research for Metastatic Breast Cancer

A discovery by CU Cancer Center member Traci Lyons, PhD, is providing new hope for women with metastatic breast cancer.

Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date June 25, 2021
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Breast Cancer

COVID-19 Vaccines Can Cause Lumps That Mimic Breast Cancer

The COVID-19 vaccines are beginning to significantly slow the spread of the virus, but the Pfizer and Moderna and vaccines are having an unforeseen consequence for breast cancer doctors. The vaccines often cause swelling in the armpit or underarm that can mimic the lumps associated with breast cancer, causing some women undue concern.

Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date June 03, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Patient’s Advice: Take It One Treatment at a Time

It feels odd to use the phrase “perfect timing” when talking about a cancer diagnosis, but that’s exactly how Tonya Quinn describes her experience being diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.  

Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date May 12, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Breast Cancer    Surgical Oncology

Improving Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Patients

Though breast cancer patients are now living longer than ever before, treatments for the disease can have wide-ranging effects on their long-term quality of life. Physical, social, and sexual wellbeing all can be impacted by radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, antiendocrine therapy and other challenges that go along with a breast cancer battle.

Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date March 23, 2021
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Research    Breast Cancer

The Role of T Cells in Fighting Cancer

New research from CU Cancer Center member Jing Hong Wang, MD, PhD, and recent University of Colorado Immunology program graduate Rachel Woolaver, PhD, may help researchers develop more effective personalized immunotherapy for cancer patients.

Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date January 14, 2021
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Patient Care    Breast Cancer

BFitBWell Strengthens Cancer Survivors

In late 2019, two remarkable women were brought together by a shared experience that could only happen at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health & Wellness Center. Through their participation in the BFitBWell Program for cancer survivors, they found renewed strength and friendship.

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 30, 2020
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Research    Breast Cancer

Tucatinib “game changing” against stage IV HER2+ breast cancer, especially with brain metastases

Phase III clinical trial results reported today in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented concurrently at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) 2019 show the combination of the investigational drug tucatinib with standard of care treatment including the drugs trastuzumab and capecitabine nearly tripled one-year progression-free survival (33 percent vs. 12 percent), and nearly doubled the two-year overall survivor (45 percent vs. 27 percent) in women with HER2+ metastatic breast cancer. The international, multi-center trial, named HER2CLIMB (NCT02614794), builds on early development and clinical trials involving the  University of Colorado Cancer Center.

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date December 11, 2019
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Research    Breast Cancer

Three-drug cocktail of targeted therapies promising against hormone receptor and HER2 positive metastatic breast cancer

The growth of some breast cancers is driven by hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Other breast cancers are driven by changes in the gene HER2. Still some cancers are driven by both – and breast cancers whose growth can be controlled by hormonal receptors and HER2 can be especially tricky to treat. A University of Colorado Cancer Center phase 1b study presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting 2019 offers an attractive alternative to the chemotherapy that is often used with these patients: the three-drug cocktail of targeted treatments – tucatinib, palbociclib and letrozole – was overall well-tolerated and showed preliminary evidence of promising anti-cancer activity. Results support the continued development of the combination in an ongoing phase 2 clinical trial.

“I see this as a promising chemotherapy-free combination for patients who have been without good options, especially for those whose disease has spread to the brain,” says Elena Shagisultanova, MD, PhD, investigator at CU Cancer Center and the trial’s principal investigator.

Tucatinib is a targeted HER2 inhibitor; palbociclib stops cancer cells from rushing through the cell cycle required for fast proliferation; and the anti-hormonal drug letrozole restricts the ability of cancers to drive growth using estrogens. Previous work has shown that palbociclib and letrozole combine to kill more cancer cells than letrozole alone. And lab work by Shagisultanova and her mentor Virginia Borges, MD, at CU Cancer Center led them to believe that tucatinib should be a potent addition to this combination.

Results of the current trial show that the theory holds up in humans: of 20 patients enrolled on the study since November 2018, 14 remained on study as of 1/4/2019, five of which had been on the study more than 6 months. The goal of the phase 1b study was to explore the safety of this combination, with no patients experiencing side effects that required study withdrawal.

“All these patients have metastatic breast cancer and up to five different treatments before trying this trial. Also, 45 percent have brain metastases. In this population, our results look promising,” Shagisultanova says.

A phase 2 trial further exploring the combination is offered at CU Cancer Center, University of Arizona, Northwestern University, New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance, Stony Brook University, and University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 17, 2019
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Patient Care    Breast Cancer    Cancer    Surgical Oncology

In Breast Surgery, Sometimes Less is More

Last year when surgeon Gretchen Ahrendt, MD, was considering a move from the University of Pittsburgh to accept the position of Director of the Diane O’Connor Thompson Breast Center on the Anschutz Campus, she and her husband, Steven – also a surgical oncologist – agreed their three daughters would have to support the move.

Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date December 07, 2017
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CU Cancer Center In the News

The Denver Post

Wings of Hope Raises More than $100,000 for Pancreatic Cancer Research at CU Cancer Center

news outletThe Denver Post
Publish DateOctober 05, 2021

Despite the continuing effects of COVID-19, a dedicated community of supporters converged Sept. 18 for the sold-out Evening of Hope, generating more than $100,000 to benefit pancreatic cancer research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

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Denver 7

Robotic Technology Takes Us into a New Era of Drug Discovery

news outletDenver 7
Publish DateSeptember 30, 2021

A giant robot at CU Anschutz Medical Campus is busy doing lifesaving work. Dan LaBarbera is the founding director at the Center for Drug Discovery at the campus.

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Animal imaging researcher wins award for contribution to oncology research

news outletHealio
Publish DateAugust 04, 2021

The International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine awarded Natalie J. Serkova, the 2021 Senior Fellow Award for her work in animal imaging for oncology research. “I was humbled and ecstatic to receive this award…,” Serkova, director of the Animal Imaging Shared Resource at University of Colorado Cancer Center, said during an interview with Healio.

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Cure Today

Life With von Hippel-Lindau Disease

news outletCure Today
Publish DateAugust 03, 2021

At first, Camron King’s sixth-grade teacher thought he was nervous. King had just started at a new school when he told the teacher he couldn’t read aloud from his textbook. The problem, however, was more complicated than childhood stage fright.

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