Combination of cancer drugs shrinks breast cancer tumours to an immeasurable size

Emobileclinic Researchers’ corner


Combination of cancer drugs shrink breast cancer tumours to an immeasurable size in a recent study of women with HER3-positive breast cancer. These drugs’ effects were seen effective  within a space of 11 days as presented at EPHOS B Trial at 10th European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-10) in Amsterdam, the Neth today.

  The researchers discovered when treated women with HER2-positive with trastuzumab (Herceptin) and lapatinib( Tykerb) a great reduction in tumours was noticed. These are drugs that target and block the HER2 receptors on breast cancer cells. ”The researchers think that having drugs that work by blocking the HER2 protein before surgery may lower the risk more”. Other treatment options for breast cancer are, surgery chemotherapy and hormone therapy.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women globally and it affects 1 out 8 American women .
HER2-positive breast cancer is known to spread faster than any types and also has high risk of re occurrence after successful treated breast cancer. This is attributed to the presence of HER2 gene and excessive HER2 protein production .

 The lead researcher Prof Nigel Bundred, of the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in the UK said 11% of women treated with drugs combination had tumours eliminated. Speaking on these results ,prof said ;
“This has groundbreaking potential because it allows us to identify a group of patients who, within 11 days, have had their tumors disappear with anti-HER2 therapy alone and who potentially may not require subsequent chemotherapy. This offers the opportunity to tailor treatment for each individual woman.”

The 11 days observational studies of treatment therapy for 257 women with HER2-positive breast cancer ; who were placed on trastuzumab , lapatinib and no drugs groups, took a turn around when trastuzumab was added with lapatinib in the middle of the study. The researchers said the treatment works better for women with stage 2 breast cancer and that 17% of the 66 women who received combination therapy had their tumours reduced to 5mm. While 11% had un measurable tumours.

 Several researchers think this is awesome and remarkable, and feels if the results can be confirmed in a larger studies, then women can say bye bye to chemo and its side effects.

Study co-leader Prof Judith Bliss, director of the clinical trials and statistics unit at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, said, “It was unexpected to see quite such dramatic responses to the trastuzumab and lapatinib within 11 days.
“Our results are a strong foundation on which to build further trials of combination anti-HER2 therapies prior to surgery – which could reduce the number of women who require subsequent chemotherapy, which is also very effective but can lead to long-term side effects”, she said.



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