Major Breakthrough for Breast Cancer Patients

New drug is not a 'cure' but offers dramatic improvement for patients, with about six months added to their lives

Diane Lilli

A new announcement by the  Food and Drug Administration officially calls a drug treatment a "breakthrough" for women with severe cases of breast cancer, such as HER2-low breast cancer.  It is not a cure, but points to a promising drug that will be used to add about six months of life to patients with advanced breast cancer, and will possibly lead to more dramatic advancements in treatment.

The study published in The New England Journal of Medicine  shows the drug, Enhertu halved the risk of serious breast cancer progression, as compared to chemotherapy, and then reduced the risk of death by 36%.

Based on a new study, the drug Enhertu is being hailed for its powerful impact on women with breast cancer, showing it lengthened the time the patients lived without any progression of the breast cancer while also dramatically improving their survival as compared to patients given standard chemotherapy.

In the study of 500 patients with HER2-low breast cancer who could not be treated by surgery and were experiencing the spread of their cancer,  Enhertu stopped the spread of their cancer for ten months. The study reports breast cancer patients with HER2-low breast cancer who were under regular care were only seeing the continued growth of their cancer for 5 1/2 months.

Overall, the drug improved the survival of the women with breast cancer in the study by six months.

Though this is not a cure, the efficacy of the new drug points to further studies and work that may lead to a much longer positive effect for women with advanced breast cancer.

Enhertu, part of a new class of cancer drugs called antibody-drug conjugates, targets a specific protein that empowers breast cancer cells to grow and has been proven to strongly impact and fight breast cancer via low levels of the specific protein.

Enhertu is an antibody-chemotherapy combination and is given to patients via   IV. The drug targets and then blocks the HER2 protein and simultaneously adds a strong chemical that attacks and kills those cancer cells.