Dr. Linda Vahdat, director of the Breast Cancer Research Program, chief of the Solid Tumor Service and professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, said the anti-copper drug has shown surprising benefit in one of the most difficult-to-treat forms of cancer -- high-risk triple-negative breast cancer.
The median survival for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer patients is historically nine months. However, results of a new phase II clinical trial conducted by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College and reported in the Annals of Oncology showed if patients at high-risk of relapse with no current visible breast cancer are copper depleted, it results in a prolonged period of time with no cancer recurrence.
In fact, only 2-of-11 study participants with a history of advanced triple-negative breast cancer relapsed within 10 months after using the anti-copper drug, tetrathiomolybdate.
"These study findings are very promising and potentially a very exciting advance in our efforts to help women who are at the highest risk of recurrence," Vahdat said in a statement.
Vahdat said four of the study participants with a history of metastatic triple-negative breast cancer remained disease free for up to 5 1/2 years.
"The anti-copper compound appears to be keeping tumors that want to spread in a dormant state," Vahdat, who is also medical oncologist at the Iris Cantor Women's Health Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said. "We believe one of the important ways it works is by affecting the tumor microenvironment, specifically the bone marrow-derived cells that are critical for metastasis progression."
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]