A study has found that the use of trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) - an antibody-guided drug - can significantly delay the growth of breast cancer.
Dr Sara Hurvitz, one of the trial investigators and Director of the Breast Oncology Program for the Division of Hematology/ Oncology at The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA, said that the drug combination has shown that it can make significant difference to the time women live without worsening HER2- (human epidermal growth factor receptor-2) positive metastatic breast cancer.
"Our results showed that patients with metastatic breast cancer who received T-DM1 had a 41 percent improvement in the time they lived without their breast cancer worsening compared to those who received standard docetaxel chemotherapy plus trastuzumab," said Hurvitz.
"These provocative Phase II data illustrate that first-line treatment with T-DM1 provides a longer time for patients to live without cancer progression and with fewer side effects than standard chemotherapy plus trastuzumab," she said.
"It is important to realise that while the current data are encouraging, results from the ongoing Phase III studies (EMILIA and MARIANNE) will be needed to more fully characterise the efficacy and safety profile of T-DM1 compared to the current therapy regimens used to treat HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer," she added.
Hurvitz recently presented her findings at the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress in Stockholm.