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Study Could Provide Breast Cancer Breakthrough

Publication: KAUZ-TV (CBS), Wichita Falls

A recent study funded by the Cancer Research UK looks like it may lead to fewer women with a certain type of breast cancer needing chemotherapy.

The results of the trial were presented at the 10th European Breast Cancer Conference in Amsterdam.

While that took place overseas, an oncologist in Texoma has actually used the combination of drugs used in this study.

"Responses are amazingly mind blowing," Dr. Preveen Reddy of Texas Oncology said.

Around a quarter of the 66 women with HER2 positive breast cancer treated for less than two week with a combo of Herceptin and lapatinib saw their tumors shrink significantly or disappear.

"It's very encouraging. More than one third of patients are being diagnosed as a community with HER2 Neu tumors, it's very encouraging news for all the women," Dr. Reddy said.

This drug combination Dr. Reddy said does not leave patients with the side effect of chemo, but there is one organ they make sure to screen before beginning this treatment.

"Basically it an be tough on the heart muscle and it can cause some heart failure problems in some patients. So before we start this particular drug we do the electrocardiogram just to make sure the heart is pumping well," Dr. Reddy said.

But Dr. Reddy said these percentages of heart failure problems are very small. The reward outweighs the small percentage of risk.

"There is a very good chance it can be completely cured and they can have a normal life," Dr. Reddy said.

The drug combination has not been approved to be used in the early stages of HER2 positive breast cancer patients in the U.S. However, Dr. Reddy said treatment with Herceptin alone returns really good results.

But he expects the U.S. to be on-board with this type of treatment within a year.

Samantha Forester, Newschannel 6

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