Breast Cancer: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 10/2022

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. Use the menu to see other pages.

Doctors are working to learn more about early-stage and locally advanced breast cancer, including ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the best diagnostic and treatment options for you. Areas of research include:

  • Learning the causes of early-stage and locally advanced breast cancer, such as endocrine (hormone) disruptors, environmental causes, diet, and lifestyle choices, to find other ways to help prevent the disease.

  • Identifying new ways to prevent early-stage and locally advanced breast cancer and to help find breast cancer when it is small.

  • Developing ways to best evaluate the genes and proteins at work in each patient and each breast cancer to determine the best treatment options for each person.

  • Exploring if ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) should always be removed with surgery when found.

  • Determining what molecular subtypes of cancer may or may not need chemotherapy.

  • Determining the best strategies to select type and duration of adjuvant hormonal therapy.

  • Evaluating the best methods for surgery, including best management of the breast and axillary lymph nodes.

  • Testing shorter radiation therapy schedules and more targeted radiation therapy approaches.

  • Finding new reconstructive surgery approaches.

  • Testing new drug therapies and combinations of therapies for early-stage and locally advanced breast cancer, including strategies to improve hormonal therapies for ER-positive breast cancer, methods to better target the HER2 receptor for HER2-positive breast cancer, methods to best treat triple-negative breast cancer, and the use of T-DM1 for early-stage breast cancer.

  • Determining the best time to offer fertility-preserving methods.

  • Finding better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of breast cancer treatments to improve comfort and quality of life for patients.

  • Learning more about the social and emotional factors that may affect treatment planning and quality of life for patients.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like more information about the latest areas of research in early-stage and locally advanced breast cancer, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

The next section in this guide is Coping with Treatment. It offers some guidance on how to cope with the physical, emotional, social, and financial changes that cancer and its treatment can bring. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.