FDA approves new drug for certain breast cancer

Health

SEATTLE (CNN) – Good news for some people fighting cancer. A new drug has been approved for those with HER2-positive breast cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for people battling HER2 positive breast cancer.

Tucatinib, or Tukysa, will be used for those whose cancer either cannot be removed with surgery or has spread to other parts of the body, including the brain.

“There are three main groups of breast cancers,” Dr. Amelia Zelnak, oncologist with Atlanta Cancer Care, Northside Hospital. “There’s the hormone-sensitive cancers. The triple-negative cancers, that are insensitive to female hormones, and then the cancers that are her2-positive, where they have more expression of this protein called HER2.”

Those in the HER2-positive group, account for approximately one-fifth of breast cancer cases.

A study of Tucatinib published in the New England Journal of Medicine in December found 33.1% of the patients who took the drug didn’t see cancer progression.

And after two years, there was a 44.9% survival rate higher than those not given the medication.

Atlanta oncologist Amelia Zelnak who did not participate in the study, says any drug therapy for HER2-positive patients will often be in conjunction with ongoing chemotherapy.

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