Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New hope for advanced post-menopausal breast cancer patients resistant to hormonal therapy

Results from a phase III clinical trial have shown that combining two existing cancer drugs to treat post-menopausal women with advanced breast cancer resistant to hormonal therapy significantly improves outcome.

Researchers told the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress [1] that women treated with a combination of everolimus and exemestane had an improved progression-free survival of nearly seven months compared to women who were treated only with exemestane.

Trial leader, Professor José Baselga from the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston (USA), will tell the meeting: "These results are impressive and, potentially, could represent a new therapeutic option for women with advanced post-menopausal breast cancer who have previously been treated with hormonal therapy."

The hormone oestrogen promotes the growth of about two thirds of breast cancers, and hormonal therapies such as exemestane, which block the effect of oestrogen or reduce oestrogen levels, are used to treat these hormone receptor-positive breast cancers. However, many breast cancer patients and nearly all patients with advanced breast cancer that has spread (metastasised) to other parts of the body become resistant to hormonal therapy. "When patients stop responding to hormonal therapy, the benefits from any secondary therapy are limited," says Prof. Baselga.

Exemestane is currently used to treat women who have metastatic breast cancer and women whose breast cancer has returned after initial treatment. It is also used to treat women with early breast cancer after they have completed two or three years of treatment with another hormonal therapy, tamoxifen.

Everolimus is an established treatment for recurrent, advanced kidney cancer and researchers are now looking at its use in other cancers. Phase II trials involving patients with advanced cancer driven by oestrogen receptor-positive advanced breast cancer have been promising when everolimus is used on its own or in combination with hormonal therapy. In order to follow this up, the phase III clinical trial BOLERO 2 was set up to investigate the efficacy of everolimus in patients who have become resistant to aromatase inhibitors – drugs that decrease the amount of oestrogen produced and help to slow or reverse the growth of the cancer.

The multi-national trial was conducted with 724 patients in 24 countries, with an average age of 62. All patients had been treated previously with the aromatase inhibitors letrozole or anastrozole. Earlier treatments also included tamoxifen (48% of patients), fulvestrant (16% of patients) and chemotherapy (68% of patients).

A group of 485 patients was randomised to receive everolimus and exemestane, while 239 received only exemestane until the disease progressed or unacceptable levels of toxicity were recorded. The trial was stopped early after an interim analysis revealed that further tumour growth did not occur for nearly 11 months in patients who received everolimus, whereas patients receiving only exemestane had progression-free survival for approximately four months.

Prof Baselga says: "This is a highly significant improvement in the time to disease progression in a patient population that is highly resistant to therapy."

Trial sponsor Novartis plans to file worldwide regulatory submissions for everolimus as a treatment for oestrogen receptor-positive, advanced breast cancer by the end of 2011.

Abstract no: 9LBA. Presidential session III, Monday 26 September, 12.15 hrs (CEST), Hall A1.

[1] The 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress is the 16th congress of the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO), the 36th congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the 30th congress of European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO).

[2] The BOLERO 2 phase III trial was funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

Saffina Rana | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>