By Carla K. Johnson | Associated Press
The tablets have been reported to be very promising because they can help prevent breast cancer, which is difficult to treat at some early stages after initial treatment.
The results of the study were published Thursday by the American Society of Clinical Oncology ahead of its annual meeting and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
A pill called “Lynparza” has been found to help cancer patients with malignant mutations live longer without disease after treatment with standard surgery and chemotherapy.
Mutations in genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, which may be predisposed to breast cancer in humans but not functioning properly, have been studied in patients without a gene defect that can be detected by the drug Herceptin.
Most of the patients in the study also had tumors that were not supplied with the hormones estrogen or progesterone. Cancers that are not nourished by these two hormones or Herceptin targets are referred to as “triple negative”. They are especially difficult to treat.
The new study tested 1,836 women and men with the disease at an early stage who were given the drug or placebo tablets for one year after Lynparza surgery and chemotherapy. In the study, approximately 82% of patients had triple-negative breast cancer.
Independent observers were advised to publish the results after seeing a clear benefit from Lynparza. Three years later, 86% of the patients in it were alive without recurrence of cancer, compared with 77% in the placebo group.
The results show that more patients need to be screened for BRCA mutations to help them make treatment decisions, says Dr. Lori Pierce, ASCO President, University of Michigan Cancer Specialist.
Serious side effects are not more common with the drug. Other side effects include anemia, fatigue, and abnormal blood cell counts.
Lynparza, sold by AstraZeneca and Merck, is already sold in the U.S. and elsewhere to treat common breast cancers and to treat ovarian, prostate, and pancreatic cancers. It costs about $ 14,000 a month, but patients ’out-of-pocket payments vary depending on income, insurance, and other factors.
The study was supported by AstraZeneca and the National Cancer Institute.
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