They could be the biggest advances in breast cancer treatment in more than a decade: PertuzumabÃ‚Â and everolimus, two medicines that significantly delay advanced cases of breast cancer from worsening.
In a large international study, an experimental drug called pertuzumab kept cancer in check for an average of 18 months when given with standard treatment, 50 percent longer than for others given only the standard treatment. The drug also appears to be improving survival rates, a possibility scientists are now researching.
In a second study, another drug (often used in organ transplants) called everolimus delayed disease progression in women whose cancer was worsening despite hormone-blocking drug treatment. The cancer progression of those who took the drug was stalled for an average of 7 months, more than twice as long as those who received only hormonal medicine.
While the studies evaluated treatment in advanced cases of breast cancer, doctors hope the drugs will be given to women with early-stage cancers. Each year about 40,000 U.S. women have cancer that spreads beyond the breasts.