Mayo researchers have suggested a triple drug therapy that may offer a promising new option for breast cancer.
They said that combining two chemotherapy drugs with trastuzumab (Herceptin) to treat women who have metastatic HER2+ breast cancer might offer physicians another choice in their treatment options.
"This is a very well tolerated regimen. The combination is a good example of an excellent therapeutic ratio: good activity and low toxicity," said study's senior investigator, Dr Edith Perez, director of Mayo Clinic's Breast Center in Jacksonville.
Dr Winston Tan, a medical oncologist at Mayo Clinic said that the chemotherapy regimen was previously tested in Europe and demonstrated good anti-tumour activity and low toxicity, so Mayo researchers combined it with Herceptin.
They found that 67pct of the 45 patients responded to treatment, with their tumours decreasing in size by at least 30 percent.
"The results are encouraging, and would support a larger, randomized Phase III study," he said.
"This is a Phase II study of this triple combination, so we would need to study this treatment against the standard best two-drug treatment in a randomized Phase III study to know if this triplet is more effective.
"This regimen seems to be a very reasonable choice, and it offers the added advantage that women who use it do not lose their hair," he says. The drug combination used most commonly for patients with HER2+ breast cancer that has spread - paclitaxel or docetaxel with trastuzumab - always causes hair loss," he added.
The study was presented at the 45th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).