In a nutshell
This study investigated predictors of response to therapy in patients with HER2-positive advanced breast cancer. The study concluded that mucocutaneous toxicities (those affecting the skin or mucous membranes) could be predictors of the response to lapatinib (Tykerb or Tyverb) in patients with HER2-positive advanced breast cancer.
Some breast cancers depend on the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) for growth. HER2-positive breast cancer generally respond to treatments that block HER2. Lapatinib is an HER2 blocker that is often used in combination with the chemotherapy capecitabine (Xeloda). However, ways to predict response to treatments such as lapatinib are still unclear.
Methods & findings
The current study looked at predictors for response to therapy in patients with HER2-positive advanced breast cancer. The records of 76 patients treated with lapatinib plus capecitabine were examined. Patients were followed for 20 months.
Complete response (complete disappearance of all signs of cancer) was seen in 3% of patients and a partial response (decrease in the size of the tumor) was seen in 19% of patients. Progression-free survival (PFS, time following treatment until disease progression) was longer in patients who experienced hand-foot syndrome (redness, swelling and pain on the palms or soles of the feet).
In patients who had hand-foot syndrome, diarrhea and rash, PFS was 13.2 months compared to 2.6 moths for those who did not have all three side effects.
The bottom line
The study concluded that mucocutaneous toxicities could be predictors of the response to lapatinib in patients with HER2-positive advanced breast cancer.
The fine print
Genetic factors that affect the way the body breaks down therapies were not explored in this study.
Published By :
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
Oct 01, 2014
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