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New hope for advanced post-menopausal breast cancer patients resistant to hormonal therapy
Date:9/25/2011

Stockholm, Sweden: Results from a phase III clinical trial have shown that combining two existing cancer drugs to treat post-menopausal women with advanced breast cancer resistant to hormonal therapy significantly improves outcome. Researchers told the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress [1] that women treated with a combination of everolimus and exemestane had an improved progression-free survival of nearly seven months compared to women who were treated only with exemestane.

Trial leader, Professor Jos Baselga from the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston (USA), will tell the meeting: "These results are impressive and, potentially, could represent a new therapeutic option for women with advanced post-menopausal breast cancer who have previously been treated with hormonal therapy."

The hormone oestrogen promotes the growth of about two thirds of breast cancers, and hormonal therapies such as exemestane, which block the effect of oestrogen or reduce oestrogen levels, are used to treat these hormone receptor-positive breast cancers. However, many breast cancer patients and nearly all patients with advanced breast cancer that has spread (metastasised) to other parts of the body become resistant to hormonal therapy. "When patients stop responding to hormonal therapy, the benefits from any secondary therapy are limited," says Prof. Baselga.

Exemestane is currently used to treat women who have metastatic breast cancer and women whose breast cancer has returned after initial treatment. It is also used to treat women with early breast cancer after they have completed two or three years of treatment with another hormonal therapy, tamoxifen.

Everolimus is an established treatment for recurrent, advanced kidney cancer and researchers are now looking at its use in other cancers. Phase II trials involving patients with advanced cancer driven by oestrogen receptor-positive advanced breast cancer h
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Contact: Saffina Rana
saffina.rana@europe.com
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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