New breast cancer drug described

Oct. 8, 2010 at 6:43 PM
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MILAN, Italy, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- A new type of treatment for metastatic breast cancer has shown encouraging activity as a first-line therapy, U.S. researchers say.

Principal investigator Edith Perez of the Mayo Clinic in Florida presented the results of the first ever randomized trial of the drug trastuzumab-DM1 to the 35th Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology in Milan, Italy, an ESMO release said Friday.

T-DM1 is the first of a new type of cancer medicine known as antibody-drug conjugates that bind together two existing cancer drugs with the aim of delivering both drugs specifically to cancer cells that overproduce the protein HER2.

"This is the first ever presentation of an anti-HER2 antibody-drug conjugate used as first-line therapy for patients with advanced breast cancer," Perez said. "We are encouraged by the results. The study demonstrated that T-DM1 has very good anti-tumor activity as well as much lower toxicity when evaluated side by side to the older 'standard.'"

Clinical trials have shown it to be effective in patients whose advanced cancer has not responded to other treatments, she said.

"This trial represents the logical step -- moving the drug up to patients with newly diagnosed HER2-positive metastases," Perez said.

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