Last week marked a very exciting moment for anyone with any involvement in breast cancer patient care, including, and especially, for breast cancer patients. On February 22 2013, the FDA approved Kadcyla, a new treatment for HER-2 positive metastatic breast cancer.
Kadcyla was formerly known to many in the cancer world as T-DM1 and has been a hot topic for some time now. I was fortunate enough to attend a talk at Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C. this past October given by Dr. Sandra Swain, the current President Elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, where she discussed some very exciting data surrounding T-DM1. We all hoped with fingers crossed that approval would be soon. Access to physicians like Dr. Swain is one of the great benefits of living in the nation’s capital and I try to take advantage of every opportunity I can to listen and learn from these great minds.
Why is Kadcyla so exciting? I’ll tell you why.
Firstly, results from Kadcyla studies showed that patients treated with Kadcyla had a median progression-free survival of 9.6 months vs. 6.4 months in patients treated with the current standard of care. The median overall survival was 30.9 months in the Kadcyla arm and 25.1 months in the arm treated with the current standard of care. This might not seem like a lot to some people, but an almost six month survival advantage is an amazing gift of time for patients and their family.
The second reason I find the approval of Kadcyla so exciting is because of the hope it provides for a patient population that often feels ignored by the research community, pink ribbons and survivor celebrations. Metastatic breast cancer patients will live with their disease for the remainder of their life.
Did you know that 30% of patients diagnosed with early stage disease will eventually develop metastatic disease?
Here’s a great infographic created by Genentech to help us understand a little more about Metastatic Breast Disease.
Credit: infographic via Genentech
- FDA OKs Roche drug for late-stage metastatic breast cancer – Reuters (reuters.com)
- Late-stage breast cancer drug OK’d (cnn.com)
- FDA: New Drug Gives Hope To Late-Stage Breast Cancer Patients (guardianlv.com)
- Roche/Genentech’s breakthrough T-DM1 wins blockbuster OK for breast cancer (fiercebiotech.com)
- Living Beyond Breast Cancer and Metastatic Breast Cancer Network Release New Publication (livingbeyondbc.wordpress.com)
- Getting Creative with Breast Cancer Screening (pugtato.com)