News of interest for post menopausal women with breast cancer positive to hormone receptors and HER2 -addition of both Herceptin (trastuzumab) from Roche and Arimidex (anastrozole) from AstraZeneca to their treatment improves the length of progression free time by 4.8 months.
A Phase III clinical trial sponsored by Roche showed that Arimidex alone inhibited the progression by just 2.4 months after which the cancer continued to progress.
Hormone sensitive breast cancer is seen in 66% of postmenopausal breast cancer and 25% are HER2 positive. The cancer is therefore a very aggressive form and the chances of relapse are higher.
Roche had already announced in May that the Herceptin-Arimidex combination was proving to be particularly effective. It announced the full findings on Monday in Istanbul at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress.
Dr. Bella Kaufman, from Israel's Chaim Sheba Medical Centre, who had led the trial, said the findings were extremely positive, as double progression free survival is rare in breast cancer trials.
The trial also showed that overall survival was also prolonged to an average of 28.5 months. However this is not considered statistically significant since patients on Arimidex alone have their survival prolonged to 23.9 months.
Additional data showed that introducing anastrozole instead of Tamoxifen in early hormone sensitive breast cancer among postmenopausal women increased their chances of avoiding disease recurrence.