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The ALTTO Breast Cancer Trial
    Posted: 03/14/2008
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The Adjuvant Lapatinib And/Or Trastuzumab Treatment Optimisation study, or ALTTO, is an international, phase III clinical trial of two targeted therapies for HER2-positive breast cancer. HER2 is a protein found in high levels on up to 25 percent of all breast cancers. Tumors that overproduce HER2 tend to be more aggressive and more likely to recur than those that do not.

The medications being tested in ALTTO, lapatinib (Tykerb®) and trastuzumab (Herceptin®), target HER2 in different ways. Researchers want to find out whether one drug will prove better than the other at helping women live longer without a recurrence of their disease, or if the two drugs will work better together.

The ALTTO study will enroll 8,000 participants in 50 countries on six continents. Women with HER2-positive breast cancer who have had their tumors completely removed by surgery may be eligible to join. (See a summary of the ALTTO protocol, which includes contact information for the sites currently enrolling participants.)

Beyond improving treatment for women with this type of breast cancer, the ALTTO trial represents a new level of international cooperation in the advancement of cancer care. ALLTO is one of the first global initiatives in which two large, academic breast cancer research networks covering different parts of the world have jointly developed a study in which all care and data collection are standardized, regardless of where patients are treated.

ALTTO is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), and GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of lapatinib, and is being coordinated by The Breast Cancer Intergroup of North America (TBCI), based in the United States, and the Breast International Group (BIG) in Brussels, Belgium.

About the Trial
New Study of Targeted Therapies for Breast Cancer Establishes Model for Global Clinical Trials
(Posted: 02/29/2008) - Two targeted medications designed to treat an aggressive form of breast cancer are being tested in a new study, called ALTTO, involving 8,000 participants in 50 countries across six continents -a clinical trial that investigators hope will provide a new model for global cancer research.

Targeted Agents Active Against HER2-positive Breast Cancer: Questions and Answers
(Posted: 02/29/2008) - ALTTO is a trial that has been designed to examine which agent is more effective, which is safer for patients, and what benefit will be derived by taking the drugs separately, in tandem order, or together.

NCI Cancer Bulletin for March 4, 2008
NCI's biweekly online newsletter provides useful, timely information about cancer research to the cancer community.

International Breast Cancer Trials
(Posted: 02/29/2008) - Scientists have uncovered molecular and genetic approaches to identify specific genes, proteins, and molecular pathways that are important for cancer development, growth, and survival. Understanding these biological mechanisms and how they relate to cancer has been a key factor in the development and delivery of new biologic cancer therapies, especially for breast cancer, which is the most frequently diagnosed form of cancer in women worldwide.
General Information
Targeted Cancer Therapies: Questions and Answers
(Reviewed: 06/13/2006) - This NCI fact sheet describes targeted cancer therapies, which are drugs that block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules involved in carcinogenesis (the process by which normal cells are transformed into cancer cells) and tumor growth. National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet 7.49

Lapatinib Ditosylate
(Posted: 03/16/2007, Updated: 03/21/2008) - This page contains brief information about lapatinib ditosylate and a collection of links to more information from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

(Posted: 10/05/2006, Updated: 03/21/2008) - This page contains brief information about trastuzumab and a collection of links to more information from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer: Questions and Answers
(Reviewed: 05/13/2002) - A fact sheet that explains types of adjuvant therapies (treatment given in addition to primary therapy). Discusses side effects, risks, and benefits of adjuvant therapy. National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet 7.20

Molecular Targets in Cancer Therapy
(Posted: 03/11/2002) - The past two decades of biomedical research have yielded an enormous amount of information about the molecular events that take place during the development of cancer.

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