Drugs Can Slow Breast Cancer Progression

Drugs Can Slow Breast Cancer Progression

In research sponsored by the manufacturers of two drugs, pertuzumab (Genentech) and everolimus (Novartis), results are showing that taking those drugs can help delay the worsening of advanced breast cancer by several months.  This can mean more time to pursue other treatment options, which can make all the difference in advanced breast cancer cases.

These drugs also show promise in extending lives, but more studies are needed to verify if this is true. 

While this has the potential to be great news, these results should be taken with a grain of salt.  Recently Avastin, another drug marketed by Genentech for treating breast cancer, lost FDA approval.  In early studies, it too showed a delay in cancer progression, but later studies found the improvement was not as great as was believed.

In the case of everolimus, the drug is already approved for treatment of kidney cancer, but clinical trials show it may be able to increase the time of progression-free survival by a median of 7.4 months.  Some skeptics argue that the comparison drug in this trial, one that deprives tumors of estrogen, was not valid, because the women in the study had already failed to benefit from other drugs that deprive the tumor of estrogen.  According to the researchers, it is common practice to use the estrogen blocker exemestane when other similar drugs have failed, so the comparison is valid.

If these two drugs can increase patients’ lives, however, it could be cause to allow the FDA to approve them.  Researchers are excited about the possibilities with these two drugs.  Perhaps soon they will be approved and we can see just how well they perform in real life scenarios.