NIH News Release
Office of the Director

Office of Medical Applications of Research

Thursday, October 25, 2000
John Bowersox (OMAR)
(301) 496-4819

Caroline McNeil (NCI)
(301) 496-6641

NIH Consensus Conference Will Discuss Latest Research on Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will hold a Consensus Development Conference on Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer November 1-3, 2000, in the main auditorium of the William H. Natcher Building on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. A news conference will conclude the 2-day meeting at 1:00 p.m. ET on Friday, November 3, 2000.

Each year, more than 180,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer, the most common type of non-skin cancer among women in this country. Through continuing research into new treatment methods, women with breast cancer now have more effective treatment options than ever before. Studies have shown that adjuvant therapy-treatment to kill cancer cells that may have spread to other organs-increases a woman's chance of long-term survival when given in addition to surgery or other primary therapies.

Two types of systemic adjuvant therapy, either alone or in combination, are used for breast cancer. Adjuvant chemotherapy involves a combination of anticancer drugs. Adjuvant hormone therapy deprives cancer cells of the female hormone estrogen, which some breast cancer cells need to grow. In addition to these systemic therapies, radiation therapy is sometimes used as a local adjuvant treatment to help destroy breast cancer cells that have spread to nearby tissues.

The rapid pace of discovery in this area continues to broaden the knowledge base from which informed treatment decisions can be made. The purpose of this conference is to clarify, for clinicians, patients, and the general public, various issues regarding the use of adjuvant therapy for breast cancer. After 1 1/2 days of presentations and audience discussion of the latest adjuvant therapy research, an independent, non-Federal consensus development panel will weigh the scientific evidence and draft a statement that will be presented to the conference audience on the third day. The consensus development panel's statement will address the following key questions:

The panel will present its draft statement to the public for comment at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, November 3. Following this public comment session, the panel will release its revised consensus statement at a news conference at 1:00 p.m. and take questions from the media.

The consensus statement is the report of an independent panel and is not a policy statement of the NIH or the Federal Government. The NIH Consensus Development Program was established in 1977 to resolve in an unbiased manner controversial topics in medicine. To date, NIH has conducted 113 such conferences addressing a wide range of controversial medical issues important to health care providers, patients, and the general public.

The primary sponsors of this meeting are the National Cancer Institute and the NIH Office of Medical Applications of Research. Cosponsors include the National Institute of Nursing Research and the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health.

Additional information about this conference, including the meeting agenda, local area hotels, and directions to NIH, is available at the NIH Consensus Development Program Web site at

NOTE TO TV EDITORS: The news conference at 1 p.m. on Friday, November 3 will be broadcast live via satellite on the following coordinates: Telstar 4, Transponder 6; C-Band; Download Frequency=3820; Orbital location=89 Degrees West. (Test time 12:30 - 1:00 p.m.)

NOTE TO RADIO EDITORS: An audio report of the conference results will be available after 4 p.m. November 3, 2000 from the NIH Radio News Service by calling 1-800-MED-DIAL (1-800-633-3425).

NIH Videocasting will broadcast the conference live on the Internet. Go to the NIH Videocast Web site -- -- any day during the conference and look for the link to the conference under "Today's Events." Viewing the videocast requires RealPlayer software, which can be downloaded from the NIH Videocast Web site.

If you require any assistance or assistive devices to participate in this conference, please contact Prospect Associates at 301-592-3320, or via e-mail at, at least 48 hours before the conference.

The Office of the Director is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.