Posted on June 6th, 2012 by
Among women with advanced, previously treated, HER2-positive breast cancer, trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1)—an investigational drug that combines Herceptin® (trastuzumab) and a chemotherapy drug—resulted in better progression-free survival than standard treatment. The results of this Phase III clinical trial were presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Approximately 20-25% of breast cancers overexpress (make too much of) the HER2 protein. HER2-targeted therapies such as Herceptin have dramatically improved outcomes for women with HER2-positive breast cancer, but researchers continue to explore new approaches to treatment.
T-DM1 links Herceptin with a chemotherapy drug (DM1). T-DM1 delivers Herceptin and DM1 directly to HER2-positive cells, and limits exposure of the rest of the body to the chemotherapy.
To evaluate T-DM1 for the treatment of advanced, HER2-positive breast cancer, researchers conducted a Phase III clinical trial known as EMILIA. The study enrolled close to 1000 women with locally advanced or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer that had progressed (worsened) in spite of previous chemotherapy and Herceptin. Study participants were treated with either T-DM1 or a standard treatment. The standard treatment consisted of Xeloda® (capecitabine) plus Tykerb® (lapatinib).
These results suggest that T-DM1 may be safe and effective for the treatment of advanced, previously treated, HER2-positive breast cancer.
Reference: Blackwell KL, Miles D, Gianni L et al. Primary results from EMILIA, a phase 3 study of trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) vs capecitabine (X) and lapatinib (L) in HER2-positive locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer (MBC) previously treated with trastuzumab (T) and a taxane. Paper presented at: 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology; June 1-5, 2012;Chicago,IL. Abstract LBA1.
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