San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium to unveil latest advances in research

SAN ANTONIO (Nov. 24, 2010) — More than 8,000 researchers, health care professionals and advocates will attend the 33rd Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium Dec. 8-12 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Presenters and moderators will include several faculty members from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium is expanding this year, and along with its recently added educational sessions for young researchers and a final overview on new findings, it will also feature something a little different. On Saturday morning at 9 a.m. in Exhibit Hall D, Dan Ariely, Ph.D., will give a lecture based on his book “The Upside of Irrationality,” using simple, accessible language to describe research findings in behavioral economics.

Press conferences: Four press conferences will highlight important news that will be revealed at the meeting.

  • Patient management and screening: 8 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 9
  • AZURE trial results: 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9
  • Targeting HER2 beyond Herceptin: 8 a.m. Friday, Dec. 10
  • Circulating tumor cells and metastasis: 12:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10

Of all the studies that will be presented at the 2010 SABCS from December 8-12, the AZURE trial is the one most likely to be practice-changing, said Peter Ravdin, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Comprehensive Breast Health Clinic at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. Dr. Ravdin is co-director of the symposium with C. Kent Osborne, M.D., director of the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine.

In an earlier, smaller study of about 1,600 women whose cancers were estrogen receptor positive, the anti-osteoporosis drug zolendronate decreased the risk of recurrence of breast cancer by 36 percent, Dr. Ravdin said.

The AZURE study has 4,000 women of a much broader range of ages from both the United States and Europe. This will be the first time the study’s results will be made public.

Another study will bring more data to the ongoing high-profile discussion over whether the drug bevacizumab improves therapy for patients with early breast cancer. The drug has U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for treatment in patients with metastatic breast cancer, but the FDA’s own Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee has recommended revoking that approval. The debate, played out most recently with extensive coverage in the September issue of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s ASCO Post, is basically whether a modest benefit is worth the extreme cost of the therapy, Dr. Ravdin said.

Oral presentations: Health Science Center faculty members are scheduled to be at their posters at the following times to discuss their findings.

  • Amelie Ramirez, Dr.P.H., Latina Interest in Genetic Breast Cancer Testing: The Significance of Having a Biological Daughter (Publication No. P1-10-04), Thursday, Dec. 9, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Chandi C. Mandal, Ph.D., Simvastatin Prevents Breast Cancer Skeletal Metastasis by Increasing p53 Levels to Increase PTEN and Inhibit CD44 Expression (Publication No. P2-07-01), Friday, Dec. 10, 7 a.m.-9 a.m.
  • Manonmani Ganapathy, Ph.D., Use of Natural ER Beta Modulators in Treating Hormonal Therapy Resistant Breast Tumors (Publication No. PD05-07), Friday, Dec. 10, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Alma J. Sanchez-Salazar, M.D., Microarray Characterization of 24 Cases of Pure Mucinous Carcinoma of the Breast (Publication No. P6-04-08), Sunday, Dec. 12, 7 a.m.-8:30 a.m.

Mini-symposia: Health Science Center faculty members will lead four mini-symposia.

  • Richard L. Crownover, M.D., Ph.D., moderates a mini-symposium on emerging radiation techniques, and speaks on radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy. Wednesday, Dec. 8, 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
  • Ismail Jatoi, M.D., Ph.D., moderates mini-symposia on surgery. Thursday, Dec. 9, 1:45 p.m.-3:15 p.m., and Friday, Dec. 10, 1:45 p.m.-3:15 p.m.
  • Dr. Ramirez moderates a mini-symposium on breast cancer health disparities Saturday, Dec. 11, 1:45 p.m.-3 p.m.
  • Dr. Ravdin co-moderates a general session with several presentations, including hormone therapy and pregnancy and breast cancer. Saturday, Dec. 11, 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

See a comprehensive listing of presentations at the symposium’s Health Science Center-sponsored Web site:

Now in its 33rd year, the Breast Cancer Symposium is a long-running meeting of the top researchers and clinicians in breast cancer research. The symposium was launched in 1978 by Charles A. Coltman, Jr., M.D., then-director of the Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC), now part of the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and William L. McGuire, M.D., a professor of medicine at the Health Science Center. In 2005, Baylor College of Medicine joined the CTRC as a sponsoring partner. In 2007, the American Association for Cancer Research also became a sponsor.

Members of the symposium’s executive committee from the Health Science Center include Ian M. Thompson, Jr., M.D., CTRC executive director; Dr. Ravdin; and Dr. Jatoi. They also serve on the program planning committee, along with Dr. Crownover and Susan Mooberry, Ph.D., interim director of the CTRC’s Institute for Drug Development.

The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of the elite academic cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Cancer Center, and is one of only four in Texas. A leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer, the CTRC Institute for Drug Development (IDD) conducts one of the largest oncology Phase I clinical drug programs in the world, and participates in development of cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. For more information, visit

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