Roche drugs, chemo destroy 46 pct of breast tumors

* 3-drug combo eradicated tumors in 46 pct of patients

* Some tumors eliminated without chemotherapy

LOS ANGELES, Dec 10 (BestGrowthStock) – Combining experimental
antibody drug pertuzumab with Herceptin, an antibody first
approved in 1998, and chemotherapy shrank tumors in nearly half
of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients treated in a clinical
trial.

Both of the antibody drugs are made by Roche Holding AG.
(ROG.VX: )

The 417 women in the midstage trial received four cycles of
therapy before they underwent surgery.

The three-drug combination eradicated tumors in 46 percent
of the patients, which is 50 percent more than was seen with
the standard therapy of Herceptin plus chemotherapy, Dr. Luca
Gianni, director of medical oncology at the National Cancer
Institute in Milan, Italy, and the trial’s lead investigator
said in a statement.

He also said combining the two antibody drugs alone
eliminated the tumor in 17 percent of cases.

The study results were presented on Friday at the San
Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Both antibodies are designed to block the function of HER2,
a protein produced by a specific gene with cancer-causing
potential that is generated in about 25 percent of breast
cancers. Because the drugs bind to different regions of the
HER2 receptor, researchers aim for more complete blockage of
the pathway.

Researchers said the combination therapy was not associated
with a significant increase in side effects or cardiac risk.

Investigators are working on a follow-up trial to see how
well the three-drug combination works for women who have
already undergone surgery to have their breast cancer tumors
removed.

Results from a pivotal trial looking at the combination of
pertuzumab, Herceptin and chemotherapy as a first-line
treatment in people with HER2-positive breast cancer are
expected by the end of next year.

U.S. sales of Herceptin last year were $1.4 billion, while
global sales were 5.26 billion Swiss francs ($5.33 billion).
$1 = 0.9863 Swiss franc
(Reporting by Deena Beasley, editing by Matthew Lewis)

Roche drugs, chemo destroy 46 pct of breast tumors