IMPAKT 2017: Hot Topics

IMPAKT 2017 Co-chairs, Fatima Cardoso and Sibylle Loibl on this year's programme

What are some of the hot topics included in the IMPAKT 2017 programme?

Some of the hot topics discuss the new therapeutic strategies in endocrine dependent tumours and the immunotherapeutic landscape in breast cancer.

DNA repair will be an important point on the agenda, but also the influence of epigenetics in breast cancer will be discussed. The level and relevance of genomic alterations are part of the programme, as well as the large and evolving field of liquid biopsies.

The keynote lectures this year will be ‘Genetic Strategies vs Immune Strategies’ and ‘Tackling Endocrine Resistance in the Clinic.’

Why are these important topics in breast cancer today; and what can participants expect to learn?

Genetic Strategies vs Immune Strategies: Currently, it seems that for example in triple negative breast cancer, the genetic strategy by testing for gBRCA mutations and PARP inhibitor therapy might become one treatment model. On the other side the evolving area of immune strategies is still mainly in other cancer areas. These treatment strategies consist not only of checkpoint inhibitors but also new treatments such as anti-POL1 agents.

Currently, we do not know how to select those patients for these new agents, even though it is very likely that they will benefit only a subset of breast cancer patients. We do not know yet, whether the benefiting groups from one or the other strategy is different, or whether there is overlapping or even synergy.

Tackling Endocrine Resistance in the Clinic: The definition of endocrine resistance is still a matter of debate, although some proposals have been made and agreed by many in the field. How to overcome it is one of the major challenges nowadays. Can simply a change or interruption in endocrine therapy overcome endocrine resistance? The hype around CDK4/6 inhibitors raises the question whether this strategy may really overcome endocrine resistance. New data suggest that ESR1 mutation is involved in some endocrine resistance and could be overcome by clever selection of the available endocrine therapies. Currently new drugs, so called SERDs, are being developed for patients whose tumours have developed ESR1 mutations.

How is IMPAKT different from other breast cancer conferences; and how will participants benefit from attending?

IMPAKT is a more personal conference, which gives the attendees the option to meet and discuss with the presenters and speakers. It is focused on translational research and young investigators, a very important combination as the understanding of translational research becomes more and more important for everyday practice. The pathology training course held before the official conference is a unique opportunity to get additional tips and tricks and to start networking.