Examples of how RTFCCR supports clinical trials aimed at improving patients’ quality of life
Improved quality of life empowers people to minimize the impact of their cancer diagnosis.
Great examples of our philanthropic engagement are the POSITIVE and OligoRare trials. They address important issues like pregnancy during breast cancer treatment and increased survival for people with oligometastatic cancer diagnose.
Pregnancy is a major concern for premenopausal breast cancer survivors. Conception after breast cancer in women with hormone receptor positive (HR+) disease is affected by the standard 5-10 years of anti-hormonal therapy during which pregnancy is contraindicated.
The POSITIVE trial evaluates whether it is safe, in terms of risk of breast cancer recurrence, to temporarily interrupt adjuvant endocrine therapy to attempt pregnancy. It is also an exceptional opportunity to investigate the biology of breast cancer in young patients, a subset that is well-known to be biologically distinct, yet poorly studied particularly at the molecular and genomic level.
POSITIVE trial provides prospective data showing that the temporary interruption of Endocrine therapy to attempt pregnancy after hormone receptor–positive early breast cancer does not appear to increase the risk of recurrence or of contralateral breast cancer in the subsequent 3 years.
The early results of the POSITIVE trial represent an important breakthrough in the treatment of young women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. It is the first study providing encouraging guidance for women with breast cancer who want to have a baby.
The POSITIVE primary analyses results were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December 2022. These important results have also appeared in the popular press as news stories and web/social media posts. The results were published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine on May 4, 2023.
Metastatic cancer can range from a single metastasis to widely disseminated metastases, making it the leading cause of cancer death. Oligometastases are considered an intermediate state between locoregional cancer and widespread metastases with a limited number of lesions and organs involved. Retrospective studies have shown that aggressive metastasis-directed therapy (surgery or radiation) added to standard of care systemic therapy achieved long-term survival or even cure in about 25% of the patients. Evidence is mostly based on the common cancer sites: lung, colorectal and prostate cancers. It has however been proposed that this intermediate oligometastatic cancer stage may also exist in other cancer types, opening a curative window for many more cancer patients.
The 1945-OligoRare is an academic clinical trial led by the EORTC in 6 countries in Europe (BE,CH,IT,DE,FR,UK) with a transatlantic collaboration with British Columbia Cancer Agency in Canada. It will be the first trial to use the stereotactic body radiotherapy -SBRT- approach (targeted radiotherapy) in cancers where the oligometastatic state is uncommon, thus where data is severely lacking. Patients with oligometastatic cancer, including all solid cancer types except lung, breast, colon and prostate cancer are eligible.
“OligoRare is still a unique clinical trial, addressing an urgent and unmet medical need. Today, we have learned from the most common tumors such as prostate cancer, lung cancer or colorectal cancer that the integration of local treatments such as radiotherapy or surgery into optimal systemic therapy may improve survival even in patients with metastatic cancer, if the spread is limited to few metastases. This intermediate cancer stage between localized cancer and systemic cancer with widespread metastases is called oligometastatic disease.
The OligoRare trial is asking the important question, whether patients with less frequent cancer types such as e.g. bladder cancer, melanoma or sarcoma may also benefit from a combined treatment of systemic therapy and local radiotherapy. OligoRare is conducted within the European EORTC network, and this broad and strong network is necessary to find sufficient numbers of patient participating in this trial. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the generous support of all our funding partners, which has been instrumental in making this research project possible.” – said prof. Matthias Guckenberger, the study PI.
Furthermore, the exceptionally high recruitment rate, even exceeding the predictions, not only reflects the commitment of the scientific community but also underscores the importance of this trial to patients.