Two New Breast Cancer Therapies Show Promise
Researchers reported on the effectiveness of two new breast cancer drugs at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in New Orleans.
The first, called lapatinib and taken orally, "inhibited tumor growth in nearly half of women who took it for eight weeks in a national Phase I clinical trial," according to a report prepared by the Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center.
One of the main purposes of the trials, said Duke oncologist Dr. Kimberly Blackwell, was to find an alternative for women whose tumors didn't respond to two traditional breast cancer chemotherapies using Herceptin (trastuzumab).
The study showed that 46 percent of breast cancer patients who took lapatinib for eight weeks had their tumors shrink or remain stable. After four months, the study said, approximately 24 percent had stable disease or tumor shrinkage. The study was funded by GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of lapatinib.
Meanwhile, patients in the advanced stages of breast cancer live longer when they take a new drug, gemcitabine, in combination with a "traditional" chemotherapy drug paclitaxel, according to results presented at the same meeting. The multi-national study involved 529 patients and found that the combination therapy group had a significantly higher one-year survival rate.
"One year survival was 71 percent in the group that received the combination therapy, compared to 61 percent for the group treated with paclitaxel alone," said principal investigator and first author Dr. Kathy S. Albain, a director and oncologist at Loyola University's Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center in Maywood, Ill. "These results are important because it was uncertain if earlier findings would translate into overall survival benefit," said Albain. "Now, we know they do," she said in a statement.
The study was funded by Eli Lilly and Co.
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