Patients with advanced breast cancer that has spread to other parts or cancer that has recurred often do not respond to chemotherapy and hardly have any treatment options left. However, a new drug Eribulin could provide hope in these patients. A study evaluating the effect of Eribulin on survival in advanced breast cancer was recently published in the Lancet journal.
Eribulin was tested in a number of women with metastatic breast cancer (breast cancer that had spread to other organs of the body) or locally recurrent cancer and who had received heavy chemotherapy before. Its effect was compared with other drugs used in clinical practice and selected according to the doctor's choice. The study was called EMBRACE trial.
AdvertisementTreatment with Eribulin in this trial improved survival of patients by almost two and a half months. Side effects of the drug were also possible to treat.
Eribulin acts at a new site on the cancer cells and inhibits cell division. It has the advantages that it can be relatively easily administered, has a short infusion time and the patient need not be pretreated with any drugs to prevent an allergic reaction. Eribulin caused side effects like neutropenia (low WBC count), fatigue and peripheral neuropathy (problem with nerves that could cause symptoms like tingling, numbness and muscle weakness). Neutropenia was managed with reduction and/or delay in the dose and administration of granulocyte colony stimulating factor.
Based on this study, Eribulin has been approved in the USA for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer for those patients that have received at least two chemotherapeutic regimens. These regimens should include anticancer drugs from the anthracycline and taxane classes.