New drugs improve patients’ chances of survival for breast, prostate cancer


CHICAGO — Newer drugs are substantially improving the chances of survival for certain types of cancer, doctors reported at the world’s largest cancer conference.

The results were featured Saturday and Sunday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago.

Here are some highlights:

  • BREAST CANCER: In a study of 672 women with “hormone-positive, HER2-negative” cancers that had spread or were very advanced, adding the Novartis drug Kisqali to the usual hormone blockers as initial therapy helped more than hormone therapy alone. After 3 1/2 years, 70% of women on Kisqali were alive, compared to 46% of the rest. Side effects were more common with Kisqali.
  • PROSTATE: Two drugs have proven able to extend survival. One study tested Xtandi, sold by Pfizer and Astellas Pharma Inc., in 1,125 men, half of whom also were getting chemo. After three years, 80% of those given Xtandi plus standard treatments were alive, compared to 72% of men given the other treatments alone. The other study involved 1,052 men who were given hormone therapy with or without the Janssen drug Erleada. After two years, survival was 82% among those on Erleada and 74% among those who weren’t.
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