Navigation Links
Tweaks to Breast Cancer Treatments Boost Outcomes
Date:12/11/2009

In one study, longer Herceptin use helped beat back the disease

FRIDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- With a growing array of choices for breast cancer treatment, researchers are now trying to pinpoint the best combination of therapies or the best order in which to give cancer drugs to patients.

In some cases, combination therapies will improve survival and sometimes the order in which therapies are given does not matter, said experts presenting new data at a Friday press briefing at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

"The most dramatic finding [presented at the briefing] is that continuing Herceptin therapy after tumor progression improves survival," said moderator Dr. Edith Perez, director of the Breast Cancer Program at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. "It is the first time this has been shown."

In that study, Dr. Kimberly Blackwell, director of the Clinical Trials Program in Breast Cancer at Duke University Medical Center, reported that combining the drug lapatinib (Tykerb) with trastuzumab (Herceptin) was better than single-drug therapy in women who have HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread.

Cancers that are HER2-positive test positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, which fuels cancer cell growth.

Tykerb inhibits HER2 and the receptor, while Herceptin binds to the ER2 protein -- a kind of double-punch, the researcher explained.

Blackwell reported on 296 women with breast cancer that had spread. Half got the drug Tykerb, 1,500 milligrams a day; the other half got 1,000 milligrams of Tykerb a day plus the Herceptin at a dose geared to their body weight.

The women's tumors had already progressed while on a number of other treatments, so they were running out of options.

The findings? "There was significant improvement in overall survival in favor of the combination of lapatinib and trastuzumab compared to the single agent lapatinib," Blackwell said. There was a 26 percent reduction in the risk of death if both agents were used.

Put in more human terms, that means that "15 more out of 100 women are alive at a year because of combination therapy."

In another report, Dr. Daniel Rea, senior lecturer in medical oncology at the University of Birmingham in the UK, compared two approaches for postmenopausal women with early stage hormone-sensitive breast cancer. In the trial, 9,775 postmenopausal women with hormone-positive (the most common type) early breast cancer were assigned to get the drug exemestane (Aromasin) at 25 milligrams a day or tamoxifen at 20 milligrams a day. That was in 2001, and in 2004 the researchers assigned all the women who were getting tamoxifen to switch to Aromasin after 2.5 or three years.

Another 2,500 patients were enrolled and assigned to get either Aromasin or tamoxifen followed by Aromasin.

"The outcome is identical," Rea said. At five years, there was 85 percent disease-free survival in both groups.

"Both of these strategies appear to be reasonable approaches for those with early cancer," he said.

Perez said the additional option to choose between the drugs may be of special interest to patients because of the cost savings. Aromasin typically costs more than tamoxifen, she said. Tamoxifen is now available as a generic drug.

Blackwell received honorariums from GlaxoSmithKline (which makes Tykerb) and Genentech (which makes Aromasin) to conduct the study; Rea reports research funding from Novartis and Pfizer.

More information

To learn more about aromatase inhibitors, head to the U.S. National Cancer Institute.



SOURCES: Dec. 11, 2009, press conference, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium with: Edith Perez, M.D., director, Breast Cancer Program, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla.; Kimberly Blackwell, M.D., associate professor, medicine, and director, Clinical Trials Program in Breast Cancer, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; Daniel Rea, M.D., senior lecturer, medical oncology, University of Birmingham, U.K.


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Survival differences by race most apparent in advanced stages of breast cancer
2. MRI finds breast cancer before it becomes dangerous
3. Pathway links inflammation, angiogenesis and breast cancer
4. Drop in breast cancer incidence linked to hormone use, not mammograms
5. Breast cancer prevention practices vary across Canada
6. Eating junk food whilst pregnant and breastfeeding may lead to obese offspring
7. Acrylamide Wont Raise Breast Cancer Risk
8. New link between estrogen and breast cancer
9. Hypnosis Eases Pain of Breast Cancer Surgery
10. Discovery suggests location of genes for breast density, a strong risk factor for breast cancer
11. Longaberger Expands Horizon of Hope Campaign to Build Support for American Cancer Societys Breast Cancer Initiatives
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:9/22/2017)... ... 2017 , ... On Sunday, September 24, hundreds will gather at Flo Jo ... considered the fastest woman of all time. Flo Jo passed away from complications ... the National Anthem. Mary was a contestant on the 2012 season of America’s ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... September 22, 2017 , ... ... assembles Passive House buildings, and Richard Pedranti Architect (RPA), a full-service ... from the strategic partner’s Solsken Line of Model Homes . Independently, Ecocor ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... ... September 22, 2017 , ... SABRE is ... Sweepstakes.,  , Molli C., a graduate student from Sonora, California, who will begin ... at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida, was selected from a pool of ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... ... ... “Cursed with a Curse: The Truth about Tithing”: a ... when breaking free from this misconception. “Cursed with a Curse: The Truth about ... Christian Faith Publishing, Lysa M. Harrison’s new book is a powerful and thought-provoking ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... ... 2017 , ... "Success Files," a short- and long-form documentary ... a disease estimated to affect the lives of more than 5 million Americans ... a leading voice in the fight for cure and research into the disease, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/22/2017)... -- As the latest Obamacare repeal effort moves is debated, ... and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) medical device market ... is in an odd place.  The industry wants repeal ... on medical device sales passed along with the Affordable ... visits and hospital customers with the funding to invest ...
(Date:9/18/2017)... , Sept. 18, 2017 EpiVax, ... of bioinformatics and immune engineering, today announced ... influenza A (H7N9) vaccine. ... to seasonal influenza and presents a challenge ... prior exposure to be effective. Using state-of-the-art ...
(Date:9/9/2017)... Sept. 8, 2017 ... MRI Unit coming to Washington DC ... When: Tuesday, September 12 th – Monday, September 18 th ... offering free MRI brain scans to the public.Where:  ... parked at 501 K Street NW, Washington, D.C.What:BTF brings its nationwide initiative, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: