Continuing trials for a new breast cancer drug called Neratinib have shown some encouraging results. The drug has been developed by biotechnology company Puma Biotechnology and is currently in mid stage trials. In the trials it was shown to be more effective than Herceptin, a similar drug developed by pharmaceutical company Roche. The drugs have been developed to work for patients with hormone receptor (HR)-negative, HER2-positive breast cancer.
The trial consisted of nearly 200 patients who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and had not yet had surgery. 40% of the patients were given a combination of Neratinib and chemotherapy and achieved a pathological complete response (pCR) which means there is no longer evidence of tumors in the breast tissue. That compares to Herceptin and chemotherapy which only achieved 23% pathological complete response.
The drug also has a higher level of pCR than other conventional treatments, 45% compared to 29% in women who have a high risk of cancer returning, determined by genetic indicators.
The company is planning to launch Stage 3 trials in the near future which will look at HER2 positive patients as well as women who have issues with returning breast cancer.
Researchers are also going to look at other cancer indicators to determine the effectiveness of the drug in further studies. The stage 2 results are going to be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research conference in San Diego shortly.
About 25 percent of breast cancers are HER2 positive so this treatment could affect thousands of women.
The most recent study was conducted with adaptive randomization which means that patients were assigned to the best possible treatment for their cancer sub-type. Researchers also looked at the hormone sensitivity of patients before putting them into different groups.
The best thing about this new cancer drug is that it uses a different action than previous drugs like Herceptin and Perjeta. So theoretically a number of drugs could be used at the same time to aggressively go after the cancer.
Unfortunately Breast Cancer is still one of the most common forms of cancer in the world with over 1.4 million new cases diagnosed each year and nearly half a million women dying annually. This new drug will hopefully be another positive step forward in the battle against this insidious disease.