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June 3, 2006

New Drug Expected To Extend Lives Of Women With Advanced Breast Cancer.

Topics: Medicine

lapatinib.jpgResearchers reported yesterday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology congress in Atlanta that the drug Tykerb (Lapatinib) had doubled the time of survival of women with advanced breast cancer from four to eight months. It worked so well that an international study of its effects, based on 321 women, was suspended in April.

Doctors believe that Tykerb, made by the UK firm GlaxoSmithKline, could be even more effective than the wonder drug Herceptin because it uses a two-pronged attack on tumours.

While Herceptin has dramatically extended the lives of many patients it eventually fails to work for a substantial number.

The new drug not only targets HER2, a protein that stimulates the growth of breast cancers, it also blocks another growth factor linked to the spread of the disease.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology congress in Atlanta heard yesterday how Tykerb had doubled the time of survival of women with advanced breast cancer from four to eight months. It worked so well that an international study of its effects, based on 321 women, was suspended in April.

Delegates were told that women taking Tykerb were twice as likely to survive as those receiving chemotherapy.

Tykerb is administered orally, and inhibits the tyrosine kinase components of ErbB1 and ErbB2 receptors. Stimulation of ErbB1 and ErbB2 is associated with cell proliferation and with multiple processes involved in tumor progression, invasion, and metastases.
Overexpression of these receptors has been reported in a variety of human tumors and is associated with poor prognosis and reduced overall survival.

There may be other applications for Tyderb other solid tumors, such as in prostate, bladder, head and neck cancer, and down the road, maybe lung cancer. However, the most promising second area for lapatinib looks like head and neck cancer (such as in squamous cell carcinoma), where a number of responses to single-agent therapy has occurred.

Posted by Richard at June 3, 2006 10:00 PM



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