Breast cancer is a very active area of research, and we regularly review publications about new treatments. But experience shows that early-stage, preclinical research results do not often translate into successful treatment in humans. So when we saw the promising outcomes of a clinical trial of a new “smart drug” to treat women with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, we wanted to share the results with you.
The drug is called sacituzumab govitecan (yes, really) and works by delivering toxic effects directly to the tumor. This is especially important in triple-negative breast cancer, which does not express the estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, or HER2 (common targets for therapies). Women with this form of breast cancer are usually only treated with chemotherapy and not any targeted therapy.
The trial results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, show that in 108 women who had already gone through several rounds of chemotherapy, 33% responded positively to the drug, with tumor shrinkage and slower cancer growth. This new drug may provide a better quality of life for at least some women suffering from the disease. Additional, ongoing clinical trials will assess this drug’s effects on other forms of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and bladder cancer.