The combination of drugs called tyverb and trastuzumab, more commonly known as Herceptin showed surprising results in a medical trial conducted in women diagnosed with the most aggressive form of breast cancer, HER2 positive.
In the study, almost nine in 10 women showed a positive response to the treatment, the falling of the cancer cell, after 11 days. In one in four cases, the cocktail made tumors shrink significantly and in some cases totally vanish in the same time period, as reported by The Telegraph.
The results were presented at the 10th European Breast Cancer Conference in Amsterdam, and even though further research is needed, the combination could lead to fewer women needing chemotherapy.
“This has groundbreaking potential because it allows us to identify a group of patients who, within 11 days, have had their tumours disappear with anti-HER2 therapy alone and who potentially may not require subsequent chemotherapy,” said who presented the data, Prof Nigel Bundred, from the University of Manchester and the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS foundation trust.
The team was investigating how the drugs can change cancer in the short window between it was diagnosed and when the operation for removing the tumor was expected. By the time the operation time came, in some cases, there was no tumor to be removed at all, according to BBC.
Researchers said that they did not expect such positive results from the combination and that their patients were left astounded. The current treatment for the aggressive cancer, HER2, is surgery followed by chemotherapy and Herceptin.
HER2 with the highest risk of coming back
The team would have to be very clear they are not taking a backwards step and increasing the risk of a relapse, said Prof Judith Bliss, from the Institute of Cancer Research in London. This type of breast cancer is more likely to come back than others.
Current treatments are effective and women often experience a complete response after three months, according to Cancer Research Uk. But the positive results after just 11 days were very surprising.
Those standard treatments are generally very expensive, with the surgery included. The diminishing in the time response with the new therapy could also benefit the patients in an economic point of view, due to the fact that they would just have to pay for about 11 days of treatment.
Source: The Guardian