New breast cancer drug class stars at ASCO

A pair of PARP inhibitors--heralded as a promising new approach to fighting breast cancer--took center stage amid the torrent of new cancer data to flow through ASCO over the weekend.

In one trial, Sanofi Aventis reported that BSI-201 in combination with chemotherapy extended average survival times by three and a half months, to 9.2 months. That study involved 116 women whose triple-negative breast cancer had metastasized. And in a non-randomized study involving 52 women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, AstraZeneca's olaparib spurred tumor shrinkage that reached up to 41 percent.  

"This is one of the most exciting findings in a long time," Eric P. Winer, director of the breast oncology center at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, told the Wall Street Journal.

Merck and Abbott Laboratories, among other developers, also have PARP inhibitors in the clinic. Researchers cautioned that the early data is promising but that much larger trials will have to be mounted to fully test their potential.

- read the article from the Wall Street Journal

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