Lead researcher Prof. Judith Bliss, of the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in the UK, and colleagues recently presented the results of their EPHOS B Trial at 10th European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-10) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the US. It is estimated that 1 in 8 American women will be diagnosed with an invasive form of the disease at some point in their lives.
According to the American Cancer Society, around 1 in 5 breast cancers are human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive, or HER2-positive. This means the cancer tumors have too many copies of the HER2 gene, resulting in excess production of the HER2 protein.
Compared with other breast cancers, HER2-positive breast cancers tend to spread faster and more aggressively, and patients with this type of cancer are more likely to experience recurrence following treatment.
Current treatments for HER2-positive breast cancer include surgery, chemotherapy and hormone therapy. There are also drugs available that target and block the HER2 receptors on breast cancer cells, such as trastuzumab (brand name Herceptin), which is the most common medication for HER2-positive breast cancer.
In recent years, new anti-HER2 drugs have entered the market, including lapatinib (brand name Tyverb or Tykerb), though this drug is currently only used to treat advanced HER2-positive breast cancer.
A cancer drug duo eliminated tumors for some women with HER2-positive breast cancer in only 11 days, while others saw a significant reduction in tumor size, new research reveals.