New Chemo Meds Improve Survival for Women With Advanced-Stage Disease

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Research has made it clear that new ways to treat and diagnose breast cancer have benefitted women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. Women diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer also have benefitted from these new technologies, but the benefits haven't been as large. Still, a study found that newer chemotherapy medicines and regimens, as well as targeted therapy medicines, are helping women with advanced-stage breast cancer live longer.

Scientists looked at the results of 122 clinical studies involving more than 26,000 women. New breast cancer treatments were found to contribute to better prognoses for advanced breast cancer.

These new treatments include:

  • Anthracyclines: These chemotherapy medicines are chemically similar to an antibiotic. Anthracyclines damage the genetic material of cancer cells, which makes the cells die. Adriamycin (chemical name: doxorubicin), Ellence (chemical name: epirubicin), and daunorubicin are anthracyclines.
  • Taxanes: These chemotherapy medicines interfere with the way cancer cells divide. Taxol (chemical name: paclitaxel), Taxotere (chemical name: docetaxel), and Abraxane (chemical name: albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) are taxanes.
  • Targeted therapies: Targeted therapy medicines interfere with specific functions of cancer cells. Herceptin (chemical name: trastuzumab), Tykerb (chemical name: lapatinib), and Avastin (chemical name: bevacizumab) are targeted therapies.

Combining these treatments also has contributed to a better overall prognosis for advanced-stage breast cancer.

Studies on new treatments offer the promise of a better outlook for women diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer. Stay tuned to Breastcancer.org for reports on research that moves that promise closer to reality.

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