A study co-authored by a Loyola researcher and published in the New England Journal of Medicine is offering new hope to women with advanced breast cancer.
The study found that combing two drugs that normally are each given as single agents significantly extended the lives of women with metastatic breast cancer. Kathy Albain, MD, a breast cancer specialist at Loyola University Medical Center, is among the main authors of the study.
The study found that women who initially took the drugs anastrozole and fulvestrant at the same time together lived more than six months longer than women who took anastrozole alone, with fulvestrant given later when the disease progressed.
"This study is the first to show that combination hormonal therapy alone without chemotherapy improves survival in advanced breast cancer," Albain said. "This most likely will change the standard of care for how we treat these patients."
First author is Rita Mehta, MD, of the University of California at Irvine.
Anastrozole (brand name, Arimidex®) is a pill that is taken daily. It is in a class of medications called aromatase inhibitors. It works by decreasing the amount of estrogen the body makes. (Estrogen fuels breast cancer.) Fulvestrant (brand name Faslodex®) is given by injection. It binds to estrogen receptors, thereby blocking the effect estrogen has on cancer cells.