Dr Ferreira Leal. Dates August 2016 to July 2018. Final cost: £103,452.
POETIC 2 summary
The POETIC trial, the largest of its kind in the world, was led By Professor Ian Smith at The Royal Marsden and demonstrated that it is possible to identify patients who would respond well to hormonal treatment without the need for additional chemotherapy. This was done by introducing and monitoring the effects of hormonal treatment before surgery. POETIC-2 studied those patients who do not respond to simple hormonal treatment to see how we can improve treatment for this group. Dr Ferreira Leal demonstrated the feasibility of patient recruitment by successfully recruiting 20 patients within 15 months from two centres. She proved that it is possible to deliver accurate molecular analysis of each patient’s cancer including gene expression analysis within a week of starting treatment. This was a prerequisite for the POETIC-2 trial to go ahead.
Some women react very well to hormone therapy and others become resistant and may relapse. Dr Ferreira Leal investigated why this happens so that clinicians can personalise treatment for patients, to help give them the best possible outcomes. The team analysed tumours from almost 100 breast cancer patients whose cancer had remained or returned following surgery. All these patients were given hormone therapy before surgery to try to reduce the size of the tumour significantly and conserve as much of the breast as possible when operating. Dr Ferreira Leal was able to identify some patients in whom clumps of breast cancer cells persisted even after long-term hormone treatment. By knowing which cell types persisted clinicians will be able to guide the treatment choices for women after surgery who still have a primary (non-metastatic) breast cancer. This means women who have resistant cancer cells could try alternative therapies.