According to the results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the addition of Tykerb® (lapatinib) to Xeloda® (capecitabine) delays cancer progression compared to Xeloda alone in the treatment of HER2-positive advanced breast cancer that has progressed after other treatments. These results were also recently presented at the 2006 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (see Related News below).
Breast cancer claims the lives of approximately 40,000 women annually in the U.S. alone. Metastatic breast cancer refers to cancer that has spread from the breast to distant sites in the body. Refractory breast cancer refers to cancer that has stopped responding to standard therapies.
Tykerb is a targeted therapy that has produced promising results in women with metastatic or refractory breast cancer. Targeted therapies are anticancer drugs that are designed to treat cancer cells while minimizing damage to normal, healthy cells. Tykerb targets two proteins that often function abnormally in breast cancer cells-HER2 and EGFR.
Researchers from England and the Allegheny General Hospital in Pennsylvania recently conducted a clinical trial to compare Tykerb plus the chemotherapy drug Xeloda to Xeloda alone in the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer patients. The study enrolled 324 patients who had HER2-positive refractory advanced or metastatic breast cancer. All patients had previously been treated with an anthracyline, a taxane, and Herceptin® (trastuzumab).
Patients were assigned to receive Tykerb plus Xeloda or Xeloda alone.
- Median time until cancer progression (the time by which half the women had experienced cancer progression) was 8.4 months in patients treated with Tykerb plus Xeloda and 4.4 months in patients treated with Xeloda alone.
- Overall survival did not differ between the two groups.
- Side effects were generally similar in the two study groups, although patients treated with Tykerb plus Xeloda were more likely to experience diarrhea, upset stomach, and rash.
The researchers concluded that the combination of Tykerb and Xeloda was superior to Xeloda alone in the treatment HER2-positive advanced breast cancer that has progressed following other treatments.
Reference: Geyer CE, Forster J, Lindquist D et al. Lapatinib plus Capecitabine for HER2-positive Advanced Breast Cancer. New EnglandJournal of Medicine. 2006;355:2733-43.
Related News:Addition of Tykerb® Improves Progression-free Survival in Advanced Breast Cancer(1/2/2007)
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