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New study of targeted therapies for breast cancer -- model for global clinical trials
Date:2/28/2008

Two targeted medications designed to treat an aggressive form of breast cancer are being tested in a new study involving 8,000 participants in 50 countries across six continents -- a clinical trial that investigators hope will provide a new model for global cancer research. This trial, dubbed ALTTO (Adjuvant Lapatinib and/or Trastuzumab Treatment Optimization study), will be one of the first global initiatives in which two large, academic breast cancer research networks covering different parts of the world have jointly developed a study in which all care and data collection are standardized, regardless of where patients are treated. The networks are The Breast Cancer Intergroup of North America (TBCI), based in the United States, and the Breast International Group (BIG) in Brussels, Belgium. TBCI consists of six National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded clinical trials cooperative groups. NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health.

ALTTO is designed to answer the most pressing questions regarding use of two widely used cancer agents: whether one agent is more effective, which agent is safer for patients, and what benefit will be derived by taking the drugs separately, in tandem order, or together" The trial is a randomized, Phase III study, which is considered a gold standard method for proving drug effectiveness.

The two agents tested in ALTTO are drugs designed to treat HER2-positive tumors, which is a particularly aggressive form of cancer that affects approximately 20 percent to 25 percent of breast cancer patients. Both agents, trastuzumab (Herceptin) and lapatinib (Tykerb), have already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use for treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer. ALTTO will provide the first head-to-head comparison of trastuzumab and lapatinib in the earliest, most treatable stages of cancer. It will also be one of the first large-scale studies to evaluate lapatinibs effectiveness in treating early breast
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Contact: NCI Press Officers
ncipressofficers@mail.nih.gov
301-496-6641
NIH/National Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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