Avastin-Abraxane Combo May Treat Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

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A study suggests that the targeted therapy Avastin (chemical name: bevacizumab) combined with the taxane chemotherapy Abraxane (chemical name: albumin-bound paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel) works better against triple-negative breast cancer cells in mice than Abraxane alone. These results were reported at the 2010 American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting.

This study was done in a lab using mice and triple-negative breast cancer cells, not in people.

Triple-negative breast cancer is cancer that is estrogen-receptor-negative, progesterone-receptor-negative, and HER2-negative. Triple-negative breast cancers are less common than other types of breast cancer and tend to be more aggressive than hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers.

Triple-negative breast cancer generally doesn't respond to hormonal therapies or Herceptin, another targeted therapy, so can be challenging to treat. The limited number of treatment options is frustrating for people diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer and the doctors caring for them. Researchers are actively looking for new and better ways to treat triple-negative breast cancer.

In this study, researchers injected mice with triple-negative breast cancer cells. After cancer tumors developed, the mice were treated with Abraxane alone or with a combination of Abraxane and Avastin.

Tumors treated with Abraxane and Avastin:

  • stopped growing completely
  • were 50% less likely to spread to lymph nodes
  • were 87% less likely to spread to the lungs

compared to tumors treated only with Abraxane.

Tumors in half of the mice treated with Abraxane and Avastin disappeared entirely during treatment (complete regression).

While these results are very promising, the research was done in a lab on mice, not in people. Still, studies are currently being done to figure out if a taxane chemotherapy and Avastin might be able to treat triple-negative breast cancer.

If you've been diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, you and your doctor will develop a treatment plan based on the unique nature of the cancer. You and your doctor also may want to consider participating in a clinical trial that's evaluating treatments for triple-negative breast cancer. The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation offers a clinical trials matching service for women diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer.

Stay tuned to Breastcancer.org's Research News to learn about new results that might help doctors develop new breast cancer treatments and better use the treatments we have now.

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