Monday, October 10, 2016

Drug targeting hormone receptor boosts progression-free survival

A drug that targets hormone receptors of cancer cells boosts the time patients with advanced breast survive without the cancer progressing, a new study shows.

The study showed that fulvestrant, sold as Faslodex by AstraZeneca, women with advanced hormone receptor positive breast cancer had significantly longer progression-free survival, particularly those with less aggressive lower-volume disease, and was reported at the ESMO 2016 Congress in Copenhagen.

Fulvestrant is a selective estrogen receptor blocker that targets the function of the hormone receptor so, unlike aromatase inhibitors such as anastrozole, it does not interfere with estrogen levels themselves.

The study involved 462 women with inoperable locally-advanced or metastatic cancer that tested ER-positive, and HER-negative who were randomly assigned to receive fulvestrant three every two weeks for 28 days. Half received fulvestrant and half received anastrolzole, another hormone targeted therapy, daily. Neither patients nor caregivers knew who was receiving which drug.  Patients were also allowed one round of chemotherapy.

After a median follow-up of 25 months, patients treated with fulvestrant averaged 16.6 months before the cancer resumed progression compared to 13.8 months for the anastrozole patients. That works out to a significant 21% improvement in progression-free survival.

Commenting on the study, Dr Nicholas Turner, team leader at the Institute of Cancer Research and Medical Oncologist at the Royal Marsden, London, UK, said that although the findings represent an important advance in the treatment of the most common form of breast cancer, another recently FDA approved treatment called palbociclib, may offer better treatment for the same patients. Currently, Faslodex is approved for use with palbociclib.

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