Targeted Drug Helps Delay Progression of Advanced Breast Cancer
Women with HER-2 positive breast cancer whose disease progressed following treatment with trastuzumab (Herceptin) benefited from taking the experimental drug lapatinib along with the standard treatment, capecitabine, researchers said last week at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Atlanta.
The combination therapy delayed the growth or the spread of the cancer by about 4 months compared with capecitabine alone (8.5 months vs. 4.5 months).
"We believe that this is an effective regimen for women with HER-2 positive breast cancer and should be the new standard of care (for treating these women after trastuzumab fails)," said Dr. Charles E. Geyer, Jr., of the Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, who led the trial and presented the results at ASCO.
Lapatinib, or Tykerb, inhibits two proteins involved in cancer, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and HER-2, which is also targeted by trastuzumab. HER-2 sits on the surface of cells, and trastuzumab binds the part outside the cell, while lapatinib binds the part inside the cell. Read more
Honored to Help Bring New Treatments to Patients
Last week Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt appointed me Acting NCI Director, effective June 11. It's an honor to be asked to head the largest cancer research organization in the world for any period of time, and I am eager to continue the work I've been engaged in at NCI over this past year.
It cannot be stressed enough that the NCI senior leadership team is committed to ensuring that, during this time of transition and uncertainty over budgetary issues, we remain focused on supporting scientific excellence, addressing high priority areas of research, and engaging in an ongoing dialogue with all members of the cancer community. Read more