Breast cancer treatment: NEW molecules to test

Treatments for breast cancer are evolving. With high hopes, these new targeted therapies are in full development. Still on trial, these molecules are designed to prevent the proliferation of cancer cells.

The treatment works by blocking the effects of the HER2 receptors on the cells, in the form of tablets, Tykerb® (molecule: lapatinib) namely their anarchic growth. Currently in clinical trial, it is permitted to only people with cancer metastasis and resistance to Herceptin®.

But within a few years, we should offer it to most patients whose tumor has HER2 receptors. Studies already show a significant efficiency, especially to tumours devoid of hormone receptors and therefore unfit to be treated by hormone therapy.

Also remains to define the best therapeutic combinations: associated to chemotherapy, alternately, or only for certain types of tumors?

“Asphyxiate” the tumor
Still on trial, this promising alternative is to “starve” the tumor by stopping the development of its blood vessels (angiogenesis). The troublemakers are of vascular growth factors (VEGF) specific: so the idea is to block, including the Avastin® (molecule: bevacizumab).

This drug is already used with success against other cancers. We test it today against cancer of the breast, associated with a chemotherapy drug or lapatinib. If we advance on the front of the cancer with metastases, clinical trials have just begun for early stage cancers.

And the Avastin® is not trivial, especially for the heart. Its toxicity remains to be assessed.

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