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Targeted therapy promising for HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer
Date:10/8/2010

A new type of breast cancer treatment has shown encouraging activity as a first-line therapy in HER2-positive metastatic disease, researchers reported at the 35th Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Milan, Italy.

Principal investigator Edith Perez, MD, Mayo Clinic in Florida, presented the results of the first ever randomized trial of trastuzumab-DM1 (T-DM1) as a first-line treatment for metastatic breast cancer.

T-DM1 is the first of a new type of cancer medicine known as an antibody-drug conjugate. It binds together two existing cancer drugs with the aim of delivering both drugs specifically to cancer cells: trastuzumab, a monoclonal antibody that targets cells that overproduce the protein HER2; and DM1, a chemotherapy agent that targets microtubules.

"This is the first ever presentation of an anti-HER2 antibody-drug conjugate used as first-line therapy for patients with advanced breast cancer," said Professor Perez. "We are encouraged by the results. The study demonstrated that T-DM1 has very good anti-tumor activity as well as much lower toxicity when evaluated side by side to the older 'standard'."

T-DM1 has shown promising activity in preclinical studies. Other clinical trials have also shown it to be effective in patients whose advanced cancer has not responded to other treatments. "This trial represents the logical step --moving the drug up to patients with newly diagnosed HER2-positive metastases," Prof Perez said.

In the trial, researchers randomly assigned 137 women to treatment with either trastuzumab plus the chemotherapy drug docetaxel, or T-DM1. All participants had HER2-positive metastatic cancer, with no prior chemotherapy for their metastatic disease.

After a median of approximately 6 months of follow-up, the researchers found an overall response rate of 48% in patients administered T-DM1, compared to 41% in the trastuzumab plus docetaxel arm. Importantly, th
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Contact: Vanessa Pavinato
pavinato.vanessa@esmo.org
39-024-342-3649
European Society for Medical Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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