Leading cancer drugs reduced the risk of death by half for people with lung cancer and assisted patients with HER2-positive breast cancer live longer without the disease recurring. The findings were just two of the numerous important study results presented at the 51st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago, Ill., this week.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in the world, and the most common cancer in women. In 2013, approximately 261,000 women were diagnosed with this disease in the United States alone.1 When diagnosed in the earliest stages, such as ductal carcinoma in situ and stage 1, the 5-year survival rate is almost 100%. If diagnosed later, or if the disease progresses to advanced breast cancer, survival rapidly decreases. Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer represents about 20% of cases, and before the introduction of HER2-targeting therapies, had the worst prognosis of all breast cancer subtypes.
Genentech has announced a major change in the distribution process for their 3 top cancer drugs: Avastin (bevacizumab), Herceptin (trastuzumab), and Rituxan (rituximab). Now, distribution of the drugs to hospitals and clinics will be restricted to authorized specialty distributors.
Mayo Clinic researchers have found amplification of HER2, a known driver of some breast cancers, in micropapillary urothelial carcinoma and have shown that the presence of HER2 amplification is associated with particularly aggressive tumors.