Glaxo drug may fight early-stage breast cancer
Experimental Tykerb's success against late-stage cancer prompts recommendation for further study.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Scientists said on Thursday that an experimental drug from GlaxoSmithKline to treat late-stage breast cancer has also shown promise in treating early stages of the disease.
Tykerb, a pill also known as lapatinib, is being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration and by European regulators as a treatment for women with a specific type of breast cancer.
Results of a late-stage study for Tykerb, which is made by the British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (down $0.02 to $52.62, Charts), were announced in June and the clinical trials were so successful that they were ended early.
That study focused on the drug's ability to treat late-stage breast cancer in conjunction with the Roche drug Xeloda. It showed that patients who took the Tykerb-Xeloda combination significantly slowed the progression of their breast cancer and reduced the chances of death, compared to patients who took Xeloda alone.
The study focused on women who had been previously treated with the Genentech (up $1.04 to $81.04, Charts) drug Herceptin without success. But scientists involved in the study published new findings on Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine saying that Tykerb should be tested as a treatment for early-stage breast cancer.
"It's logical to think that Tykerb might also work in earlier stages of disease similar to Herceptin," said Dr. Charles Geyer, co-lead investigator of the Tykerb study and director of breast medical oncology at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.
"It's reasonable to think that Tykerb could be an alternative to Herceptin, or it could make it work better in earlier stages of the disease," he said in telephone interview.
GlaxoSmithKline stock was little changed in late afternoon trading.