Monday, July 18, 2011

The Breast Cancer News Update: July 18

This weekend, Omnitarg (pertuzumab), a monoclonal antibody for the treatment of HER2 positive breast cancer, made news as positive phase III study results were announced. Today we'll highlight the latest news and research on Omnitarg for HER2 positive breast cancer. All of the news articles, reviews and studies discussed below can be found on the Omnitarg (pertuzumab) page of the website.

Omnitarg: A little background and biology

For HER2 positive breast cancer, Herceptin (trastuzumab) has been the treatment of choice. Unfortunately, some HER2 positive breast cancers do not respond to Hercpetin and some develop a resistance to Herceptin over time. This has led to the development of new targeted drugs for HER2 positive breast cancer. A 2011 review in Swiss Medical Weekly overviewed the development of Herceptin and Omnitarg (as well as Tykerb (lapatinib), Trastuzumab DM-1, and Rexomun (Ertumaxomab)) for HER2 positive breast cancer. The full-text of the review is available free of charge, which is not always the case with journal reviews.

How does Omnitarg work? A short YouTube video posted by BusinessWire explains the biology behind Omnitarg. Basically, Omnitarg blocks the pairing (or dimerizing) of HER2 proteins with other HER proteins (HER1, HER2, HER3 and HER4). This is different than Herceptin, which attaches to HER2 receptors and blocks them from receiving growth signals. (See the summary for more on how Herceptin works.)

Omnitarg: The latest research

Positive phase III study of Omnitarg plus Herceptin and Taxotere

On Friday, Reuters and Medical News Today published articles covering the announcement of positive phase III trial results of Omnitarg plus Hercpetin and Taxotere (docetaxel) for metastatic breast cancer. Progression free survival was longer for those treated with all three drugs than for those treated with Herceptin and Taxotere alone. The study results are expected to be submitted for global regulatory approval later this year.

Recent cardiac safety study

One of the concerns with Herceptin is the risk of cardiac side-effects. Omnitarg may not raise the same concerns. A June 2011 study published in the Annals of Oncology concluded that patients treated with Omnitarg experienced "relatively low levels" of asymptomatic left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) and symptomatic heart failure (HF). "There was no notable increase in cardiac side-effects when pertuzumab was given in combination with other anticancer agents," such as Herceptin or non-anthracycline based chemotherapies, such as Taxotere.

Omnitarg: Other studies

Phase II studies for metastatic cancer

In March 2010, two phase II studies of Omnitarg for metastatic breast cancer were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology . One from Spain found that the combination of Omnitarg and Hercpetin was "active and well tolerated in patients with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer who had experienced progression during prior trastuzumab therapy." Both the Journal of Clinical Oncology abstract and a February 2010 Cure Today story can be found on the Omnitarg page of our website. The other study, from Italy, concluded that Omnitarg was not effective as a single agent in treating HER2 negative metastatic breast cancer.

Neoadjuvant studies

Omnitarg is not just being studied for metastatic breast cancer. In December 2010, Cure Today and Medical News Today reviewed the positive phase II study of Omnitarg plus Herceptin and Taxotere in the neoadjuvant (before surgery) setting for women with newly diagnosed breast cancer. A November 2010 review in Cancer Treatment Reviews also addressed the research on neoadjuvant Omnitarg.

Other research and reviews

In addition to the studies discussed above, the Omnitarg page contains links to research at the cellular level (December 2009 and February 2011 Cancer Research studies) and several comprehensive reviews of the development of Omnitarg for HER2 positive breast cancer.

We'll continue to monitor Omnitarg developments and add the latest news and research to our website and database. As always, our goal is to monitor and organize breast cancer research for you.

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