A new drug to treat the most common form of breast cancer has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Afinitor (everolimus) in combination with Aromasin (exemestane), won approval for the treatment of some postmenopausal females with advanced hormone-receptor positive, HER2-negative breast cancer. The drug is indicated for patients with progression or recurrence of breast cancer after receiving Arimidex (anastrozole) or Femara (letrozole).
Both Arimidex and Femara are aromatase inhibitors, which work by depriving cancer tumors of the hormone estrogen, which can fuel their growth. However, over time, these tumors can become resistant to those drugs. The addition of Afinitor appears to restore the drugs’ effectiveness.
Afinitor was approved based on the findings of a clinical trial that involved 724 women with advanced breast cancer that was no longer being controlled by Arimidex or Femara. All the women were given Aromasin, another aromatase inhibitor. Some women were randomly given Afinitor while the others received a placebo.
For the women who received the placebo, their cancer worsened after a median of only 3.2 months, whereas women who received Afinitor went a median of 7.8 months before their disease began to worsen.
On the downside, women on Afinitor were more likely to experience serious side effects such as mouth sores and lung inflammation. The drug also comes with a hefty price tag. The wholesale cost of Afinitor is about $7,500 for a 28-day supply.
Afinitor is already approved for the treatment of kidney cancer as well as some rarer tumors.
Source: Medical News Today