ASCO Conference: T-DM1 Delays Breast Cancer Progression; Fewer Side Effects

The experimental drug T-DM1 delays progression of  breast HER2-positive breast cancer and significantly reduces the side effects of chemotherapy, according to the results of the EMILIA study, a Phase 2 study of the T-DM1 in HER2-positive locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer. Researchers presented the results yesterday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting.

T-DM1 is designed to deliver chemotherapy directly to tumors while sparing surrounding healthy cells.  It is a type of drug known as an “antibody-drug conjugate” and is the first of its kind for breast cancer. It combines the HER2-targeted antibody, called Herceptin, with the chemotherapy agent DM together as a single therapy. The drug attaches to to the tumor and blocks signals that encourage the tumor to grow and spread. Then the drug penetrates the cell and releases a high dose of chemotherapy to destroy the cell from within.

The researchers report that T-DM1 delayed disease progression by about three months. For those who received T-DM1, the median time before the disease progressed was 9.6 months, compared with 6.4 months for those receiving standard therapy. Approximately 40 percent of the women who received T-DM1experienced a serious side effect compared to about 57 percent of those on standard therapy. After two years of follow-up, approximately 65% of women who received  T-DM1 were still alive, compared with 48% of women who received standard treatment.

Click here to read the published abstract.

The Weill Cornell Breast Center has conducted a clinical trial on T-DM1.

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