That’s News

By Thomas Crocker
Monday, July 20, 2020

A New Combination Therapy for HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer

The recent FDA approval of the drug Tukysa (tucatinib) for use with the chemotherapeutic agents trastuzumab and capecitabine provides a new treatment option to certain adults with HER2-positive breast cancer.

The novel combination therapy is approved for advanced HER2-positive breast cancer that cannot be removed via surgery or has metastasized to the brain or another part of the body while proving resistant to at least one other drug regimen. Regulatory approval came after a clinical trial involving 612 patients who met the criteria showed that individuals who received Tukysa — which targets the enzyme kinase to help prevent cancer growth — trastuzumab and capecitabine had no tumor growth for an average of 2.2 months longer than participants who received a placebo plus chemotherapy.

Study: U.S. Advanced Melanoma Deaths Undergo Sharp Decline

Two types of drugs approved to treat metastatic melanoma during the past decade likely played a major role in a nearly 18% drop in the melanoma mortality rate in Caucasian men and women in recent years, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health.

From 1986 to the early 2010s, the melanoma mortality rate in Caucasians steadily rose. Beginning in 2011, BRAF inhibitors and MEK inhibitors — drugs designed to target proteins involved in fueling melanoma growth — and immunotherapy drugs called immune checkpoint inhibitors entered clinical use for patients with metastatic melanoma. Shortly after, mortality began to decline: From 2013 to 2016, researchers found that the melanoma mortality rate dropped by 17.9%, with men age 50 and older seeing the largest decrease.

A More Accurate Diagnostic Method for Prostate Cancer

Combining systematic biopsy — the standard method of diagnosing prostate cancer — with MRI-targeted biopsy produces more precise diagnoses than either technique alone, according to new research by the NIH Clinical Center.

In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, 2,103 men with prostate tumors visible on MRI underwent combined biopsies, and 1,312 of these men received cancer diagnoses. Compared with systematic biopsy alone, combined biopsy led to 208 more cancer diagnoses and 458 reclassifications to a higher-grade form of cancer.

Combined biopsy also improved diagnostic accuracy compared with MRI-targeted therapy alone, and the two-pronged technique resulted in significantly fewer cases of underdiagnosis than systematic biopsy or MRI-targeted biopsy alone in men who underwent prostatectomy.