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Drug Combo Slows Breast Cancer Progression in Some

Combining experimental drug temsirolimus with letrozole improves survival in postmenopausal study participants

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Combining the experimental drug temsirolimus with letrozole may slow the progression of advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women, researchers reported at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Jose Baselga, M.D., of the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, and colleagues randomized 92 patients into three cohorts, all of them taking 2.5 mg of letrozole daily. One cohort took 10 mg of temsirolimus daily, the second took 30 mg temsirolimus on an intermittent schedule (daily for five days every two weeks), and the third took letrozole alone. Each cycle lasted about two weeks.

After evaluating patients in the three groups, the researchers found that patients in the 30 mg intermittent group enjoyed longer median progression-free survival, had a higher estimated rate of progression-free survival at 16 months, and had less disease progression and death than those in the other two groups.

"Preliminary data suggest that the temsirolimus + letrozole schedules were tolerable and that progression-free survival may be longer for patients treated with 30 mg temsirolimus intermittent + 2.5 mg letrozole daily, than for those treated with letrozole alone," write the authors, whose research was funded in part by Wyeth. A phase III trial of the intermittent temsirolimus-letrozole combination versus letrozole alone is under way.

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