At the recent annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Atlanta postitive results of a study testing a new drug for treating breast cancer were announced.
The new drug is called Tykerb. The study involved 321 women with advanced breast cancer who were divided into two groups. One group only took the drug Xeloda (a standard chemotherapy drug for use in breast and some other cancers). The other group took both Xeloda and Tykerb.
The study was actually stopped early because the results looked so good. The growth of the tumors were delayed about twice as long in the group that was also taking Tykerb.
The target of Tykerb is the protein HER2/neu, which is a member of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family. Around 20-25% of breast cancers involve the overexpression of the HER2/neu protein.
Tykerb functions similarly to Herceptin, but also targets another protein and works from inside the cell. Other advantages of Tykerb include few side effects, its taken in a pill form rather than intravenously and is a smaller molecule which may be able to cross the blood-brain barrier and attack metastatic brain tumors also.
Tykerb is made by the British company GlaxoSmithKline PLC. There are additional studies taking place now with Tykerb and it may be approved for use in the US either this year or next.
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- Women’s Health Weekly Review: July 6 – July 12
- Recent developments in breast cancer research
- Breast cancer update – 7/16/07
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