Drug Combo Extends Life With Breast Cancer
Women Live Longer With Tykerb-Herceptin Combination After Herceptin Alone Fails
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Tykerb-Herceptin Combo Extends Breast Cancer Patients' Lives continued...
Edith Perez, MD, a breast cancer specialist at the Mayo Clinic in
Jacksonville, Fla., tells WebMD that the results of the study have been eagerly
"In the U.S., there's a tendency of doctors to take women off Herceptin once
it fails to help, but this shows significant benefit to continuing with it and
adding a second targeted agent," she says. Perez says the combo is now being
tested in women with early-stage breast cancer, for whom they expect it to work
The study was funded by GlaxoSmithKline, which makes Tykerb. Blackwell
consults for GlaxoSmithKline and for Genentech, maker of Herceptin.
Avastin Fails to Improve Breast Cancer Patients' Survival
Also at the meeting, two large studies showed that adding the targeted drug
Avastin to standard chemotherapy modestly delayed the time until advanced
cancer got worse but had no overall effect in survival.
Given the high cost of Avastin and the risk of side effects such as blood
clots in the lungs and kidney problems, should women be offered the
That's the $100,000 question, Perez says. She was not involved with the
"It's hard to justify giving the drug to all the women. But we would like to
offer it to that one in four it might help. We have to wrestle with the issue,"
Researchers are now trying to find biomarkers that will help pinpoint which
women will benefit from the drugs and which won't, Perez says.