NEWS from Dr. Lucci’s latest research - We are now assessing blood samples from our high-risk breast cancer patients- such as triple-negative or inflammatory breast cancer, or locally-advanced patients- to look for mutations within the blood- also known as a "liquid biopsy"- to identify those mutations that can be used as targets for new drug therapy. One example would be to look for mutations in PIK3CA and adding a drug known to act against this. This is the way of the future!  I believe that in the near future we will be able to identify certain mutations that will guide our therapy choices, allowing us to choose the drug most likely to kill the tumor. This will be a big advance, and its coming in the near future. in case we think its far off, recently such a mutation was found in lung cancer patients, and now such a liquid biopsy is used in the clinic to help guide lung cancer treatment.  We are hopeful that breast cancer is not far behind. 


OTHER important news from Dr. Lucci - Recent research (not on CTC research but on IBC) shows we can achieve local control rates equal time non IBC - not done before. We are combining this with our CTC blood data:

The ASCOT Post

May 25, 2017

By Caroline Helwick

"Triple‑Modality Therapy Achieves Good Control in Inflammatory Breast Cancer"

‘Shift in Thinking

Anthony Lucci, MD, Professor of Surgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center and the study’s senior author, emphasized the relevance of their findings. “We frequently see patients with inflammatory breast carcinoma who are being told, ‘There is no reason to remove the primary,’ or ‘You are not a candidate for mastectomy.’ In our study, using an aggressive approach to resection of the primary, we were successful 99% of the time in achieving negative margins by performing a modified radical mastectomy after neoadjuvant chemotherapy,” he said in an interview.

“The patients then completed their trimodal therapy by undergoing postmastectomy radiation therapy specific to inflammatory breast carcinoma, resulting in local recurrence rates that were no different from patients with other forms of breast cancer,” Dr. -Lucci said. “This represents a significant improvement in previously reported local recurrence rates in this disease.”

Dr. Rosso added that the surgeons closely examine the pretreatment photos to better appreciate the degree of diffuse skin involvement. “We don’t spare much skin. We take everything off the muscle and include the muscle when it is involved,” she said. In most cases, primary wound closure is possible; in about 15% of cases, the wound requires a tissue flap by a plastic surgeon.

“We feel this represents a shift in thinking regarding the management of patients with inflammatory breast cancer,” Dr. Lucci offered. “That is, it debunks the outdated thinking that ‘There is no good reason to aggressively resect all of the local disease to negative margins in patients with inflammatory breast cancer, since the thinking is that they might have a distant recurrence, and local control is not that important.’”

To view full article:


Recent Developments of Dr. Anthony Lucci

Over the past year we have made some important advancements in our knowledge about how breast cancer spreads by depositing cells into the bloodstream. And we could not have realized these advancements if not for the incredible generosity of our donors, including the Emma Jacobs Breast Cancer Foundation.


As a result of your participation, we have identified, characterized and validated the importance of harmful circulating cancer cells (CTCs) and disseminated cancer cells (DTCs) in operable breast cancer patients.  Last year we published a first-of-its-kind paper in the Lancet Oncology demonstrating the clear prognostic significance of CTCs found in early-stage breast cancer patients. We have recently submitted a paper demonstrating the prognostic significance of CTCs in triple negative breast cancer patients to the journal Cancer.  We are also developing methodologies to characterize CTCs and DTCs so that targeted therapies can be developed to kill these harmful cells.


In 2013 we published a paper in Cancer Medicine demonstrating that most CTCs and DTCs express a protein called HER2, even when it is not expressed by a patient's primary tumor. However, these patients are not offered standard anti-HER2 medications (such as Herceptin) that could kill these DTCs and CTCs because current cancer treatment decisions are based solely upon primary tumor characteristics.  Our paper highlights the need for trials examining therapies directed against targets expressed by both primary tumor and CTCs/DTCs to improve outcomes for breast cancer patients with CTCs and/or DTCs.  We have also recently submitted a paper showing the importance of CTCs in triple-negative breast cancer patients.  This report is particularly important as triple-negative patients have only limited therapy options. Our next step is to characterize genetic mutations in the CTCs in these patients so that new, targeted therapies can be identified to improve outcomes in triple-negative breast cancer.



If any of the readers are interested, we would be happy to forward copies of the scientific manuscripts we have published.  We again want to stress that many of these projects were funded through your generous donations, so we are happy to send copies of our results to those who have an interest in knowing more.  We will continue to study and identify novel ways to prevent breast cancer metastasis and improve survival for all patients with cancer. These studies would not be possible without the generous support of people like you.  We truly appreciate all you do for us.


If we can stop cancer metastasis, we can save lives.


This is the goal of Dr. Anthony Lucci at MD Anderson Cancer Center. 


Since I last wrote you, Dr. Lucci has made some incredible advances in his breast cancer metastasis research.  He has found that cancer cells can be identified in the blood and bone marrow of 25 percent of patients with early stage breast cancer.  More tragically, he has also found cancer cells in the bone marrow of 25 percent of breast cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy.


But there is hope.  Dr. Lucci’s lab is uncovering the reasons that some chemotherapies do not work against metastasis.  One reason: primary tumors and metastasized cells have different genetic make-ups.   Therefore, a therapy that works on the primary tumor might be not work against metastasis.  Another reason: standard chemotherapy regimens work by killing cells, both cancerous and healthy, as they are dividing.  However, Dr. Lucci has found that metastasized cells in the bone marrow lie dormant and divide slowly, thereby rendering many chemotherapies ineffective.


Thanks to philanthropy and your help, hope is on the horizon.  Dr. Lucci published the first report showing that a specific enzyme present in the primary tumor is the best predictor of whether cancer cells will metastasize to bone marrow.  This critical discovery allows researchers to develop therapies that target the enzyme to prevent metastasis.  Dr. Lucci’s laboratory has already confirmed that the enzyme inhibitor prevents metastasis in mouse models, and plans are underway to develop a clinical trial for use in humans.


Please consider supporting Dr. Lucci and his research. You are making a difference in the lives of millions of breast cancer patients and survivors.


MD Anderson’s initial goal of $1 million is 94% completed with $38,000 to go.  Which is fantastic.  To move to the next level, Dr. Lucci and his group are looking to raise another $1.5 million (for a total of $2.5 million) to accomplish his long-term research goals for breast metastases. 


Any help that we can give I know will be appreciated.


Thanks for your support!