There was very hopeful news this week for many patients with metastatic (stage 4) breast cancer.
The FDA has approved the use of the drug Tukysa (tucatinib) in combination with chemotherapy (trastuzumab and capecitabine) for the treatment of locally advanced HER2+ breast cancer that can’t be removed with surgery, or for stage 4 disease (including brain metastasis) in patients who have already received one or more prior treatments. In trial studies, 33% of patients treated with Tucatinib in combination with chemotherapy did not see their cancer progress in the first year and 2-year survival after starting treatment was 44.9%.
Based on the favorable results of a recent phase 2 study, the FDA also announced a fast-tracked approval of the drug Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan-hziy). The drug is specifically for patients with relapsed or refractory metastatic triple-negative breast cancer who have received at least two prior therapies for metastatic disease. According to the manufacturer, the drug specifically targets the receptor that encourages cancer growth and spread in the body. The study for Trodelvy included 108 patients. More that half of patients with stage 4 disease who responded to the drug maintained their response for six months or more. Some patients also experienced reduced tumor sizes. Encouragingly, 16.7% of patients maintained their positive response to the drug for a year or more.
As always, before beginning any new therapy, it is important to fully discuss all the potential benefits and side effects with your medical oncologist.