CCMB Clinician Scientists present findings at ASCO

CCMB Clinician Scientists present breast cancer genetic testing and prevention study findings at ASCO

A group of clinician scientists at CancerCare Manitoba have partnered with investigators at the Mayo Clinic in an innovative clinical trial looking at whether offering genetic testing, termed a polygenic risk score, to women at high risk of breast cancer impacts a woman’s decision to take a medicine to prevent breast cancer such as tamoxifen or exemestane. The CCMB group includes Drs. Julian Kim (co-principal investigator) and Andrew Cooke, radiation oncologists, and Drs. Debjani Grenier, Benjamin Goldenberg, and Christina Kim, medical oncologists.

Dr. Julian Kim presented the initial results of this study at this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting on June 3rd 2019 in Chicago.  The oral presentation was titled: "Impact of a breast cancer polygenic risk score on the decision to take preventive endocrine therapy: The Genetic Risk Estimate (GENRE) trial". 

A total of 151 patients were enrolled in this clinical trial study, 76 at CancerCare Manitoba and 75 at the Mayo Clinic. The study found that when results of genetic testing were provided to women at high risk of breast cancer, they were more likely to take medication to prevent breast cancer. Studies have previously shown that the risk of breast cancer can be reduced by 50 to 65% by taking preventive medicine.

This is the first study in the world to utilize a polygenic risk score in the clinical setting and is an important first step towards the development of a personalized medicine approach for breast cancer prevention with the ultimate goal of encouraging increased uptake of breast cancer medication and reducing the incidence of breast cancer.

In addition to their affiliation with clinical departments at CancerCare Manitoba, and the Research Institute at CCMB, all of the clinician scientists hold appointments at the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba.

Funding for this study was provided by Manitoban benefactors including the Jessiman Foundation and the Ernest Hansch Foundation, and the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation.