Breast cancer drug trial results in ‘unheard-of’ survival

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A colored scanning electron micrograph of breast cancer cells. Patients treated with the new drug trastuzumab deruxtecan survived for 23.9 months.


(Gina Kolata/ New York Times) — The patients had metastatic breast cancer that had been progressing despite rounds of harsh chemotherapy. But a treatment with a drug that targeted cancer cells with laserlike precision was stunningly successful, slowing tumor growth and extending life to an extent rarely seen with advanced cancers.

The new study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and published on Sunday in the New England Journal of Medicine, would change how medicine was practiced, cancer specialists said.

“This is a new standard of care,” said Dr. Eric Winer, a breast cancer specialist, director of the Yale Cancer Center and head of the A.S.C.O. Dr. Winer was not involved with the study. He added that “it affects a huge number of patients.” (…)

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