Trials Suggest Potential Expanded Use for HER2-Targeted Agents
Results from two phase III clinical trials presented last week at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) suggest that there may be an expanded role for HER2-targeted therapies in breast cancer treatment, according to the trials' leaders.
The smaller of the two trials, dubbed NOAH, tested the combination of trastuzumab (Herceptin) and chemotherapy given prior to surgery, called neoadjuvant therapy, compared with neoadjuvant chemotherapy alone in 327 patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.
Data on "event-free survival" (time between randomization and disease recurrence, disease progression, or death from any cause) and response rate were available. According to the trial's principal investigator, Dr. Luca Gianni from the Istituto Nazionale Tumori Milano in Italy, the 3-year event-free survival rate for patients receiving the combination therapy was significantly better than that of patients receiving chemotherapy alone, 70.1 percent vs. 53.3 percent.
Surgery Alone May Be Best for Early Uterine Cancer
Most uterine cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, while still confined to the body of the uterus. In addition to surgery to remove the uterus and ovaries, some doctors perform lymphadenectomy (lymph node removal), external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT), or both, in the hope of preventing local recurrence. However, a large randomized trial, published online December 13 in The Lancet, showed no improvement in survival associated with lymphadenectomy or EBRT.
Investigators leading the international ASTEC study randomly assigned 1,408 women to receive surgery or surgery plus pelvic lymphadenectomy. Women in both groups at intermediate or high risk of recurrence were randomly assigned a second time to receive either EBRT or no EBRT.
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