Drug That Can Keep Breast Cancer at Bay for Longer

Article excerpt

Byline: Jenny Hope Medical Correspondent

A BREAKTHROUGH drug gives women suffering an aggressive form of breast cancer an extra six months before the disease advances.

Women on a combination treatment of pertuzumab alongside the 'wonder' drug Herceptin lived on average for 18 months without their disease worsening, compared with 12 months for those not taking it.

Doctors are hailing the dual therapy as a 'quantum leap forward' that will change treatment in the same way Herceptin did five years ago.

A quarter of the 48,000 Britons diagnosed with breast cancer each year have the HER2 positive form, which is more aggressive.

When the disease starts to spread they are prescribed Herceptin which holds the disease at bay for around a year - six months longer than chemotherapy alone.

But now pertuzumab can give the same benefit again, according to trial results released at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, Texas. The Cleopatra study of 800 women - including Britons whose HER2 positive cancer was spreading - showed the new drug, plus Herceptin and chemotherapy, significantly improved the chances of stalling the disease. …