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SABCS: Lapatinib May Help Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Trial shows significant clinical response in patients treated with lapatinib and paclitaxel

TUESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Lapatinib may be a promising treatment for the 1 percent to 2 percent of breast cancer patients diagnosed each year with inflammatory breast cancer, the often lethal form the disease, according to the results of a phase 2 trial presented this week at the 29th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Massimo Cristofanilli, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues enrolled 49 newly diagnosed inflammatory breast cancer patients, all of whom were HER2 and/or EGFR-positive. Thirty-five women completed a protocol consisting of two weeks of daily lapatinib alone, three months of daily lapatinib plus weekly paclitaxel chemotherapy, and surgery.

The researchers found that 25 percent to 30 percent of patients had a clinical response -- a 50 percent reduction in tumor size -- with lapatinib alone and that 86 percent responded during the lapatinib-chemotherapy drug regimen. They also found that three of the first 21 patients who had surgery had a complete pathological response.

"For inflammatory breast cancer patients, these results should be very encouraging because there's now more of a dedicated research effort for a type of breast cancer that has long been ignored and misunderstood," Cristofanilli said in a statement. "With lapatinib, we finally have a drug on which to build effective therapy -- we just have to refine the most effective way to use it. The findings presented today will allow us to expedite future clinical trials."

Abstract

Physician's Briefing
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