Professor Nigel Bundred presented some revolutionary findings at the Breast Cancer Conference in Amsterdam about the effectiveness of a combination of drugs (Herceptin and Lapatinib) in the treatment of breast cancer.
What’s revolutionary about the study is that it examined the effects of these two drugs combined, whereas they were only used separately up until now. According to the study findings, these two drugs were able to destroy certain breast cancer types in less than 2 weeks.
The study was funded by the UK cancer research and was aimed to discover how they can use the drugs to fight the Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2 protein) which plays a role in the growth and multiplication of cancer cells.
Furthermore, when these two drugs are used together, in many cases, there’s no need for surgery and chemo. Another benefit is that there are no unwanted side-effects, like vomiting, hair loss and fatigue, making it easier for the patient to overcome the disease. It’s a fact that not many patients can endure the severity of chemotherapy, so any other alternative approach to this unfortunate disease is more than welcome.
Study results examined
The study involved 257 subjects with HER2 positive breast cancer. Half of them were given a combination of these drugs, while the other half was used as a control group. The group of women who took the drugs had significant improvement, 11% of them had eliminated their cancer entirely, while 17% of them had significant decrease in their tumors. And these results were evident in just 2 weeks.
The control group, who only took Herceptin, had no similar results. None of them had managed to completely destroy the cancer cells and just 3% had decreased tumors. The results are clear, only if the two drugs are used in combination, there can be such effective results.
However, there is one problem, Herceptin is only allowed to be used in combination with chemotherapy, and not as a stand-alone treatment. Maybe the results of this study will make them change their licensing and allow for the drug to be used without chemo.
There’s a lot of work ahead of us yet, but this is a significant step forward in the fight against breast cancer. We’re hopeful that there will be more positive news to come in the near future.