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Go backMetastatic HR+ breast cancer patients live longer with fulvestrant/anastrozole combo

A phase III trial featuring combination therapy with anastrozole and fulvestrant has shown significant success for post-menopausal women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

Giving these drugs together, rather than apart, extended overall survival by six months for women with metastatic cancer, according to the study’s report at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

The statistically significant results mean the combination therapy could become a new first-line treatment option. It “is the first new treatment in more than a decade that gives women with hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer an overall survival benefit,” said Dr. Rita S. Mehta of the Univeristy of California, Irvine, who presented the results.

To explain the science behind each drug, anastrozole inhibits the aromatase enzyme-induced estrogen synthesis, and fulvestrant blocks the effects of estrogen in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. The agents seem effective when used together on hormone receptor-positive metastatic cancers.

“This most likely will change the standard of care for how we treat these patients,” predicted study coauthor Kathy S. Albain, MD, of the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill.

Additional research regarding the anastrozole/fulvestrant treatment combination is available online through The Oncology Report. An article on fulvestrant insights can be found through the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

January 20, 2012