Pill shows benefit in some difficult-to-treat breast cancer

A pill has been shown to help keep some early-stage, difficult-to-treat breast cancers at bay after initial treatment.

A pill has been shown to help keep some early-stage, difficult-to-treat breast cancers at bay after initial treatment because they are so promising.

The study results were released Thursday by the American Society of Clinical Oncology ahead of its annual meeting and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The pill, called Lynparza, was found to help breast cancer patients with the deleterious mutation live longer without the disease, as their cancer was treated with standard surgery and chemotherapy.

It was studied in patients with mutations in genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2, which can predispose people to breast cancer if they do not function properly, but who do not have a gene defect that is targeted by the drug Herceptin. can go.

Most of the patients in the study also had tumors that were not affected by the hormones estrogen or progesterone. Cancers that are not induced by these two hormones or by the Herceptin target gene are called “triple negative”. It is especially difficult to treat them.

The new study tested Lynparza in 1,836 women and men with early-stage disease who were given the drug or placebo pills for one year after surgery and chemotherapy. About 82% of the patients in the study had triple-negative breast cancer.

Independent monitors recommend releasing results after seeing clear benefits from Lynparza. After three years, 86% of patients on it were alive without cancer recurrence, compared to 77% in the placebo group.

The results suggest that more patients should have their tumors tested for BRCA mutations to help with treatment decisions, said ASCO President Dr. Lori Pierce, a cancer radiation specialist at the University of Michigan.

Serious side effects were no more common with the drug. Other side effects include anemia, fatigue and blood cell abnormalities.

Lynparza, marketed by AstraZeneca and Merck, is already sold in the United States and elsewhere for the treatment of breast cancer that has spread widely and for the treatment of certain cancers of the ovary, prostate, and pancreas. It costs about $14,000 a month, although what patients pay out of their own pocket varies depending on income, insurance, and other factors.

The study was supported by AstraZeneca and the National Cancer Institute.


The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.


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Pill shows benefit in some difficult-to-treat breast cancer

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