FDA Panel Backs Novel Anti-HER2 Drug for Breast Cancer


“Another potential drug for HER2-positive breast cancer received strong numeric support from an FDA advisory committee, tempered by reservations about a broad indication, modest clinical benefit, and toxicity issues.

“By a 12-4 vote, the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) supported FDA approval of the dual HER2/EGFR inhibitor neratinib for early HER2-positive breast cancer that relapses after trastuzumab (Herceptin) maintenance therapy.”

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The Role of Pertuzumab in Treating HER2+ Breast Cancer

Pertuzumab (Perjeta) is a relatively new drug that targets HER2, a protein found at higher-than-normal levels in about 15% to 20% of all breast cancers. Too much HER2 leads to tumor growth. Currently, all newly diagnosed breast cancer patients have their tumors’ HER2 levels tested. Knowing whether a patient’s HER2 levels are abnormally high (HER2-positive) or normal (HER2-negative) is a major factor in choosing a treatment, thanks to the availability of trastuzumab (Herceptin) and, now, other HER2-targeted drugs such as Perjeta, T-DM1 (Kadcyla), and lapatinib (Tykerb). These drugs are all used to treat HER2-positive patients. Continue reading…

Longer Neoadjuvant Anti-HER2 Treatment Might Be More Effective for HER2+ Patients

The gist: Stage II and III breast cancer patients whose tumors are HER2-positive may benefit from longer treatment with the anti-HER2 drugs trastuzumab (aka Herceptin) and lapatinib (Tykerb). In a clinical trial, 28% of patients who received the drugs for 24 weeks had no more signs of an invasive tumor after their treatment. Only 12% of patients who received the drugs for 12 weeks had the same result. However, the difference in response was significant only in patients whose tumors were hormone receptor (HR)-positive and HER2-positive.

New Drug for Advanced HER2-Positive Breast Cancer Begins Testing in a Clinical Trial

The gist: A clinical trial has begun to test a new treatment for people with HER2-positive breast cancer. The drug is called SYD985. It is being tested in people with locally advanced or metastatic tumors. The first phase of testing will enroll both HER2-positive and HER2-negative cancer patients to test the safety of the drug. The second phase will enroll HER2-positive breast and gastric cancer patients, including patients with low expression of HER2 (HER2 2+).

“Synthon Biopharmaceuticals (‘Synthon’) today announced that the first patients with metastatic solid tumors have commenced treatment with its investigational anti-HER2 antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), SYD985.

“First patients for this trial are being enrolled in leading European oncology centers Radboud University Medical Center (Nijmegen, the Netherlands), the Jules Bordet Institute (Brussels, Belgium) and the Institute of Cancer Research at The Royal Marsden Hospital (London, United Kingdom). The trial will recruit at least 76 patients and more centers are expected to join the trial in 2015.

“This trial is a two part first-in-human Phase I study. In the dose escalation part of the trial, safety and efficacy of SYD985 will be evaluated in patients with locally advanced or metastatic solid tumors of any origin. In the expanded cohort part of the trial, only patients with breast and gastric cancer will be enrolled. The expanded cohorts will include patients currently indicated for HER2-targeted treatment as well as patients with HER2 2+ and HER2 1+ breast cancer for whom there currently is no effective anti-HER2 therapy available.”