March 15, 2007

Tykerb® not a cure

You may have seen TV news reports about Tykerb® (lapatinib), the new targeted agent used to treat HER 2+ breast cancer. Please don't jump to any conclusions about a cure. It can be an effective drug (I know someone who's taken it successfully in a clinical trial for a couple of months) but it's not the cure. Even my friend who's been taking it only received a few months of benefit before her disease began to grow again.

Rik saw the report on TV and called to me with great excitement, "Have you heard about this?" He focused on the subliminal "breast cancer cure" message and didn't remember (if he ever knew) my HER status. It just goes to show that even those closest to us can be suckered by the press if they don't remember every detail of our disease and treatment.

The good news is that targeted agents affecting cancer cells in very specific ways appears to be the wave of the future as far as research goes. As my oncologist tells me, I just have to live long enough for the next new thing, and new things are coming down the pipe every month.

Here's a summary of the real scoop from the National Cancer Institute. You can read the full article. Note that NCI says Tykerb® "delays progression."

Lapatinib (Tykerb®) Plus Capecitabine Delays Progression of HER2-Positive Breast Cancer
Key Words


Combining the experimental targeted agent lapatinib (Tykerb®) with the drug capecitabine delayed the progression of breast cancer for nearly twice as long as did treatment with capecitabine alone in patients with advanced breast cancer that had progressed following treatment with trastuzumab (Herceptin®).

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