According to results recently presented at the 2006 annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, the addition of Tykerb® (lapatinib) to Xeloda® (capecitabine) improves progression-free survival compared to Xeloda alone in the treatment of HER2-positive, advanced refractory or metastatic breast cancer.
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 321 patients who had HER2-positive refractory advanced or metastatic breast cancer. All patients had previously been treated with chemotherapy and Herceptin® (trastuzumab).
Patients were assigned to receive Tykerb plus Xeloda or Xeloda alone.
- Survival without cancer progression was 36.7 weeks for patients treated with Tykerb plus Xeloda, compared with 17.9 weeks for patients treated with Xeloda alone.
- Diarrhea was more common among patients treated with Tykerb/Xeloda (58%) than among patients treated with Xeloda alone (39%).
The researchers concluded that the addition of Tykerb to Xeloda significantly improves progression-free survival compared to Xeloda alone in HER2-positive, advanced refractory or metastatic breast cancer. Researchers will continue to search for markers of sensitivity or resistance to Tykerb.
Reference: Cameron D, Stein S, Zaks T, et al. Lapatinib plus capecitabine shows superior efficacy compared to capecitabine alone in patients with ErbB2 positive advanced or metastatic breast cancer-initial biomarker data. Proceedings from the 2006 annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Oral presentation December 15, 2006. Abstract #2.
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