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Drug combo boosts breast cancer survival: study

Postmenopausal women with a common type of breast cancer that thrives on estrogen survived longer when treated with a combination of two drugs rather than just one, a US study said Wednesday.

The results of the phase III trial, released at a meeting of breast cancer experts in San Antonio, Texas, show the first benefit for women with hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer in 10 years, study authors said.

Both drugs -- anastrozole (Arimidex) and fulvestrant (Faslodex) -- are currently used to treat breast cancer but they have typically been administered separately, not together.

The results of the randomized, controlled SWOG trial showed that the two anti-estrogen drugs given together extended the median survival time by more than six months compared to standard treatment with anastrozole only.

The study began in 2004 and included 707 postmenopausal women with metastatic hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

All the women took a daily oral dose of anastrozole, which works by reducing production of tumor-promoting estrogen.

About half of the women also got a 250 milligram injection of fulvestrant every 28 days. Fulvestrant works by interfering with the receptors that allow estrogen to signal cells to grow and reproduce.

Lead study coordinator Rita Mehta of the University of California, Irvine, Medical Center said the two drugs together showed an impressive impact on a subtype of breast cancer that accounts for more than half of all cases.

"If we take away estrogen and the estrogen receptor, the two together should be better than just doing one at a time," Mehta said.

"These patients have not had a new treatment that gave them an overall survival benefit in more than a decade."

Women in the trial who received just anastrozole survived a median of 41.3 months. Women who received the two in combination survived a median of 47.7 months.

Researchers said side effects were generally similar in both groups, though the most severe side effects, including one stroke and two pulmonary embolisms, were seen in the combination group.

"This most likely will change the standard of care for how we treat these patients," said study co-author Kathy Albain of Loyola University Medical Center. (AFP)

 

<한글 기사>

칵테일 요법, 말기 난소암 치료에 효과

두 가지 항암제의 병행투여가 항암치료에 내성이 생긴 진행성 난소암 치료에 상당한 효과가 있다는 연구결과가 나왔다.

미국 메이요 클리닉의 프라카시 비시누(Prakash Vishnu) 박사는 항암제 이사베 필론과 수니티니브를 병행투여하면 진행성 난소암세포의 70%를 죽일 수 있다고 밝힌 것으로 메디컬 뉴스 투데이가 8일(현지시간) 보도했다.

비시누 박사는 진행성 난소암의 경우 이사베필론을 단독투여하면 암세포의 30%, 수니티니브만 투여하면 10%를 죽일 수 있으나 두 가지를 함께 투여하면 암세포를 70%까지 죽일 수 있는 것으로 임상시험 결과 밝혀졌다고 말했다.

진행성 난소암의 경우 지금까지 이 두 가지 항암제가 함께 투여된 경우가 없었다.

이사베필론과 수니티니브는 각각 진행성 유방암과 신장암 치료제로 승인된 항암 제로 난소암 치료제로는 승인되지 않고 있다.

진행성 난소암은 갈수록 기존 항암제에 내성을 나타내기 때문에 치명적인 경우가 많다.

진행성 암이란 유효한 치료법에 반응하지 않거나 내성을 나타내 치료효과를 기대할 수 없는 난치성 암을 말한다.

이 연구결과는 '부인종양학(Gynecologic oncology)' 온라이판에 실렸다.
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