Not all cancer cases are created equal. As the medical community hones in on better, less invasive cancer treatments, differentiating between different types of cases is key. Breast cancer is an example of a cancer that manifests in several different ways, requiring different treatment regimens. The presence of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, or HER2, is one of those key differentiators. Now, drug manufacturer AstraZeneca has aced a Phase III trial for its new drug, Enhertu, which seeks to treat breast cancer cases classified as “HER2-low.” Read on to find out more about this exciting new drug prospect.
What Is HER2-Low Breast Cancer?
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, or HER2, is a protein involved in normal cell growth. However, HER2 may be overproduced in people with certain types of cancer cells, including breast cancers. When HER2 is overproduced, it has the potential to cause cancer cells to grow and spread more quickly. However, not all types of cancer involve high HER2 levels. For example, some breast cancers are considered either HER2-negative or “HER2-low.” Until now, the medical community has struggled to find treatments for HER2-low cancer cases. Fortunately, a new AstraZeneca drug could change that, creating a more targeted treatment for HER2-low breast cancer.
New AstraZeneca Drug Aces Phase III Trial
AstraZeneca recently completed a Phase III trial for patients with HER2-low metastatic breast cancer. The trial, entitled DESTINY-Breast04, involved a third-generation antibody drug conjugate called Enhertu. Enhertu was designed to eliminate tumors marked by various levels of HER2 expression – even “HER2-low” tumors. The goal was to increase the number of patients experiencing progression-free cancer survival – patients who would ordinarily receive chemotherapy as their standard of care. Now, as EndPoints News reports, researchers have “declared success on all fronts.”
The Impact on HER2-Low Breast Cancer Treatment
AstraZeneca Head of Oncology R&D Susan Galbraith explains that this trial marks the first time a HER2-directed therapy has benefited patients with HER2-low metastatic breast cancer. “Today’s historic news from DESTINY-Breast04 could reshape how breast cancer is classified and treated,” Galbraith said in a statement. “These results for Enhertu are a huge step forward and could potentially expand our ability to target the full spectrum of HER2 expression, validating the need to change the way we categorize and treat breast cancer.”
Enhertu isn’t just limited to breast cancer treatment. In trials, the drug has also shown a streak of positive late-stage readouts in gastric cancers and lung cancer. As Astra-Zeneca trials progress, this drug could have a major impact on patients diagnosed with HER2-low cancers, boosting survival rates and minimizing the need for certain invasive treatments. After acing this Phase III trial, Enhertu demonstrates the ways in which medical innovation and clinical trial management go hand-in-hand.
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