Plain language summary: Trastuzumab emtansine for breast cancer

The research:

Trastuzumab Emtansine for HER2-Positive Advanced Breast Cancer.

The summary:

This trial looked at a drug called T-DM1, which is designed to treat a type of breast cancer called HER-2 positive breast cancer. T-DM1 was compared to a combination of two drugs that are already available.  It found that cancer progression was delayed by about three months in women who received T-DM1, from 6.5 months to 9.5 months.  These women also lived roughly six months longer than the other group. Serious side effects were common in both groups, however they were less common in women receiving T-DM1.

The caveats:

The women recruited for this trial were reasonably healthy when they started.  Women were only allowed to enrol if:

  • they had breast cancer that had failed to respond to treatment with trastuzumab (which is one of the components of T-DM1) plus another drug
  • their breast cancer had spread (either locally or more widely).
  • they were still able to perform light work, such as housework or an office job.

In real-world conditions, women who receive treatment with T-DM1 might not be this fit, so might not get the same benefits as the women in the trial.


Posted on October 18, 2012, in Evidence, Plain language summaries, Science communication and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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