Breast cancer patients may be saved by a newly developed 'chemo cocktail' - a study has recommended the use of a breast cancer drug jointly with another drug used to treat leukaemia to stall the spread of cancer to organs.
When breast cancer spreads or metastasizes, it crashes through the body's protective fences. The disease becomes fatal when it travels outside the mammary ducts, enters the bloodstream and spreads to the bones, liver or brain.
Currently, there are only drugs that try to stem the uncontrolled division of cancer cells within the ducts.
Researcher Seth Corey, M.D. from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has shown that the potent new chemotherapy cocktail helps prevent breast cancer cells from invading.
"This is an entirely new way of targeting a cancer cell," said Corey.
During the study, Corey found that when the leukemia drug dasatinib is combined with the breast cancer drug doxorubicin, the potent mix inhibits breast cancer cell invasion by half.
Dasatinib targets an enzyme called the Src kinase, which is believed to play a key role in breast cancer invasion and metastases.
"Perhaps this drug could be given to prevent invasion from happening in the first place," said Corey.
"This might keep the disease in check and prevent it from progressing," Corey added.
The study appears in British Journal of Cancer.