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Abstract | Full HTML Article | PDF ecancer 11 746 / DOI: 10.3332/ecancer.2017.746

Special Issue

The past and future of breast cancer treatment—from the papyrus to individualised treatment approaches

Cancer is one of the oldest diseases ever described, since ancient Egypt there have always been attempts to treat and cure this illness. The growing body of knowledge about breast cancer biology and improvements in surgical and medical treatments has been built over time with contributions from many talented and enthusiastic physicians and researchers. Medical advances have changed the approach from a previously incurable condition, into a surgical disease. Further improvements in cancer biology have allowed the development of systemic treatments, hormonal therapies, and targeted drugs. The description of the molecular intrinsic subtypes of breast cancer clarified the understanding of breast cancer as a group of heterogeneous diseases, associated with different clinical outcomes, and therapeutic opportunities. This paper reviews how breast cancer treatment has improved since the earliest descriptions, in ancient times, and how future approaches, such as gene signatures, molecular profiling, and liquid biopsies, aim to further develop individualised treatments and improve treatment outcomes.

Keywords: breast cancer, cancer history, breast surgery, gene signature, molecular profiling, liquid biopsy

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Author interviews

Felipe Ades

Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, São Paulo, Brazil

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Founding partners

European Cancer Organisation European Institute of Oncology

Founding Charities

Foundazione Umberto Veronesi Fondazione IEO Swiss Bridge

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Cancer Intelligence