At an oral presentation in front of 8,000 yesterday at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, SWOG NCORP Vice Chair Dr. Dawn Hershman presented results of S1200, a particularly exciting breast cancer trial.

S1200 set out to test whether acupuncture can alleviate joint pain caused by aromatase inhibitors, which are taken every day by tens of thousands of women with hormone sensitive breast cancers. The results, Dr. Hershman described, were clear.

Women who received acupuncture – compared to those who got sham acupuncture or no treatment at all – experienced less pain after 12 weeks of treatment, according to a dedicated assessment, and that relief lasted for 24 weeks. To learn more, see the SWOG press release here.

The results are truly a big deal. As many as 50 percent of women on AI therapy have joint pain and stiffness that makes routine daily tasks difficult or impossible. Symptoms are severe enough that many women wind up stopping their treatment. So we’re talking about a lot of patients in a lot of pain – with some putting their health at risk as a result. Finding an effective way to manage this pain – one that doesn’t involve opioids – was a critical research question. Additionally, at least year’s San Antonio conference, Dr. Lynn Henry presented promising SWOG trial results using the depression drug duloxetine.

Dr. Hershman was included in a SABCS press conference, and her trial got a lot of pickup. Stories appear on Time.com and the U.S. News and World Report website. The ASCO Post, Web MD, and OncLive covered the news, as did Cure Magazine and Cancer Therapy Advisor. Dr. Hershman also did a slew of TV and radio interviews, and her work has popped up in news outlets in the UK, France, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, Vietnam, and a pop-science Spanish language magazine.

Our own Dr. Julie Gralow called the results “very good news for patients” in an interview with Fred Hutch News Service. (See that excellent article here). Dr. Gralow and other experts predict the SWOG results will change practice – and could get insurers to cover acupuncture for women taking AIs.

What a great way to close out the year. Congratulations to Drs. Hershman and Kathy Crew, and the entire 1200 team. Congratulations also to the other SWOG members making a splash in San Antonio:

• Dr. Debu Tripathy, presented results from the MONLEESA-7 trial showing that ribociclib can slow the progression of advanced breast cancer in young women.

• Dr. Elizabeth Mittendorf, a poster discussant, was interviewed by The ASCO Post as an expert commentator on the use of immunotherapy to treat breast cancer.

• Dr. Halle Moore and other SWOG investigators were major contributors to the meta-analysis presented on fertility preservation – another big news-maker.

Dozens of SWOG members, including four patient advocates, went to San Antonio to learn, teach, and network. Thank you all for representing us so well.

CRAs can apply for travel assistance to the April group meeting from The Hope Foundation https://tinyurl.com/CRA-Nurse. Apply by the Jan. 15, 2018 deadline. For questions, contact zbetna/ng/gurubcrsbhaqngvba/qbg/bet

Abstracts for ASCO 2018 are being accepted now. The ASCO deadline for submission is Feb. 13, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST. Please submit your abstracts to SWOG for processing and approvals to chof/ng/fjbt/qbg/bet by Jan. 30, 2018.