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Boehringer expands afatinib breast cancer trials

Published on 31/08/11 at 12:15pm

Boehringer Ingelheim has begun two new phase II trials of its investigational cancer drug afatinib.

The studies will cover afatinib’s use in patients with metastatic breast cancer who have an over-expression of the erbB2 (HER2) protein.

Approximately 20-30% of women with breast cancer overexpress the erbB2 (HER2) receptor. 2 This overexpression of the erbB2 (HER2) protein is associated with a more aggressive form of breast cancer and a greater risk of disease progression and death compared to women with erbB2 (HER2) negative tumours.

One of the two new trials, the 1200.89 study, will look at the efficacy and safety of afatinib for the treatment of patients with erbB2 (HER2)-overexpressing inflammatory breast cancer, one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer.

The other, the LUX-Breast 2 study, started enrolling patients in May this year, and will investigate the efficacy and safety of afatinib in patients with erbB2 (HER2)-positive, metastatic breast cancer. These patients will have already progressed on currently available erbB2 (HER2) targeted treatments.

Afatinib is one of the most advanced cancer drugs in Boehringer’s pipeline and is being studied in a range of solid tumour types such as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and head and neck cancer.

These include the phase III LUX_Breast 1 trial which pits afatinib against Roche’s Herceptin.

A second-generation treatment, afatinib works by being ‘irreversibly binding’, meaning it is active against receptors that are resistant to treatments such as Iressa and Tarceva.

Dominic Tyer

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