New chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer?


Question from MLP: Dr. Kaplan, are there any new/upcoming chemotherapy drugs for metastatic breast cancer? (Any in clinical trials at this time?) We need more conferences on metastatic breast cancer! Thanks.
Answers - Carol Kaplan I think that at every conference that we attend we hear about exciting new drugs to be used in the metastatic setting. Some of the more notable drugs being discussed at this time include targeted therapies, specifically drugs that target patients with BRCA gene mutations, and drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors. An example of a tyrosine kinase inhibitor is lapatinib (brand name: Tykerb), which many of you have heard of. There was an interesting presentation at San Antonio this year about neratinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, which seems to have efficacy in the treatment of metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer patients. However, this drug brings with it a significant rate of diarrhea, which is not to be minimized when treatment in the metastatic setting is often intended to improve quality of life. That is just one example of a number of agents that were discussed at the meeting. This goes back to Dr. Oratz's comment earlier about the focus of this conference being the molecular biology of breast cancer. As we learn more about the genes and protein expression involved in the biology of breast cancer, we are excited to see the introduction of a number of new targeted agents.
Ruth Oratz, M.D., F.A.C.P. Another interesting class of drugs, again for patients with BRCA gene mutations, is the PARP inhibitors. At the conference there was an update on clinical data using these agents. Again, another promising direction for new drug discovery in the treatment of breast cancer.
Carol Kaplan Finally, another interesting presentation revealed a promising level of efficacy when using what are called conjugated therapies; specifically, a drug conjugated, or attached to, an antibody. In one case presented, this antibody was trastuzumab. These conjugates may allow a more direct delivery mechanism of anti-cancer drugs to tumors.

On Wednesday, December 17, 2008, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Updates from the 2008 San Antonio Breast Cancer SymposiumRuth Oratz, M.D., F.A.C.P. and Carol Kaplan, M.D. answered your questions about the latest updates on breast cancer risk, screening techniques, treatment options, and more.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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