The breast cancer drug Herceptin was shown to extend the lives of patients in advanced stages of the disease by an average of four months.
Dr. Dennis J. Slamon of the University of California at Los Angeles was one of Herceptin’s key developers, and played a primary role in the years of research that prompted FDA approval of the drug last September. Slamon reported updated evidence on Herceptin’s ability to extend lives at a Philadelphia meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research.
While last year’s findings showed that Herceptin reduced the risk of death by 16%, the newly-reported findings boasted a 22% reduction in that risk. Women taking Herceptin survived an average of 24.8 months, compared to a 20.4 month average among women who did not take Herceptin. Slamon predicts that Herceptin’s ability to prolong life will become more and more evident as time goes on and further follow-up studies are conducted.