March 8, 2009

Tykerb® Effective in Recurrent Inflammatory Breast Cancer


Tykerb® Effective in Recurrent Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Among women with recurrent HER2-positive inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), treatment with Tykerb® (lapatinib) is effective, even among patients whose cancer has progressed following treatment with Herceptin® (trastuzumab). These results were recently reported at the 2008 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive and lethal form of breast cancer. Many of these cancers express the tyrosine kinase receptors HER2 and/or EGFR. Tyrosine kinases are proteins involved in the proliferation and survival of cells. Because tyrosine kinases often function abnormally in cancer cells, drugs that interfere with these proteins play an important role in the treatment of several types of cancer. Tykerb is one such drug. It is an oral medication that targets both HER2 and EGFR.

Researchers from Israel recently reported findings from the largest trial ever conducted in patients with HER2-positive IBC. The trial included 126 patients with HER2-positive IBC that had progressed following previous treatment including Herceptin. Participants were treated with Tykerb.

  • Overall, 39% of patients responded to treatment with Tykerb.
  • 36% of patients whose disease had progressed following treatment with Herceptin responded to Tykerb.
  • Response to Tykerb lasted nearly 21 weeks.
  • Overall progression-free survival was approximately 15 weeks.
  • Diarrhea occurred in approximately 60% of patients and was the most common side effect.
  • The most common serious side effects in were shortness of breath (6%), pulmonary complications (4%), and fever (2%).

The researchers conclude that these findings support Tykerb as a potentially effective agent in the treatment of HER2-positive IBC that has progressed following treatment with Herceptin.

Patients diagnosed with recurrent HER2-positive IBC may wish to discuss with their physician the risks and benefits of Tykerb.

Reference: Kaufman B, Trudeau M, Johnston S, et al. Clinical activity of lapatinib monotherapy in patients with HER2+ relapsed/refractory inflammatory breast cancer (IBC): Final results of the expanded HER2+ cohort in EGF103009. Proceedings from the 2008 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Abstract #636.

Related News: Tykerb® Effective in Inflammatory Breast Cancer (12/19/2006)

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