Brain metastases recede thanks to a new class of active ingredients - the

Cancer therapy: New active ingredient reduces brain metastases in breast cancer

Metastases can develop in the brains of breast cancer patients, which means an even lower chance of survival for those affected. But researchers are now reporting a new active ingredient that reduces brain metastasis.

A new study has shown that brain metastases in breast cancer patients partially or even completely regress with a new class of active ingredients. It is a chemical combination of antibodies and chemotherapy which, according to current knowledge, opens up a completely new perspective in oncology research and targeted therapy. The results of the study were published in the journal "Nature Medicine".

Brain function and quality of life did not deteriorate

The study included 14 women and one man with HER2-positive breast cancer and brain metastases who were cared for at the Clinical Department of Oncology at the Medical University (MedUni) Vienna and at the Vienna General Hospital (Vienna General Hospital).

According to a statement, the research team led by Matthias Preusser and Rupert Bartsch (Clinical Department of Oncology of the University Department of Internal Medicine I of MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital) studied the active ingredient trastuzumab-deruxtecan (T- Dxd) as a possible new therapeutic approach in cases where, for the first time, breast cancer spreads to the brain.

The result: In 73.3% of study participants, metastases shrunk following T-Dxd, and in two out of 15 (13.3%) they were no longer detectable using imaging methods.

In addition to this extremely positive result, the scientists found good tolerance: during the treatment period, neither the participants' brain function nor the quality of life deteriorated.

In addition, T-Dxd is already approved in the EU zone. According to study leader Matthias Preusser, it can be used immediately in specialist oncology units to treat breast cancer patients with brain metastases.

Brain metastases occur in 50%

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in this country. In a few cases, the tumor can also affect men.

As indicated in the press release, 15% of those affected suffer from HER2-positive breast cancer. In this type of aggressive tumor, HER2 (human epidermal receptors) act as binding sites for growth factors, which cause the cancer cell to divide and therefore grow and metastasize.

In up to 50% of patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, the tumor spreads to the brain.

Already approved in Europe

T-Dxd was approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in 2021 for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer.

It is a chemical compound (conjugate) of an antibody against HER2 (trastuzumab) and chemotherapy (deruxtecan). Until now, it was not known whether the new conjugate could be effective in brain metastases.

Based on the results of the current study, further investigations of the new class of active ingredients are now planned: "Our findings open up completely new perspectives for clinical research and the treatment of brain metastases in breast cancer. - and possibly other types of tumours," says Matthias Preusser. (ad)

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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Medical University of Vienna: Breast Cancer: New Active Ingredient Shrinks Brain Metastases, (Accessed: August 13, 2022), Medical University of Vienna, Rupert Bartsch, Anna Sophie Berghoff, Julia Furtner, Maximilian Marhold, Elisabeth Sophie Bergen, Sophie Roider-Schur, Angelika Martina Starzer, Heidrun Forstner, Beate Rottenmanner, Karin Dieckmann, Zsuzsanna Bago-Horvath, Helmuth Haslacher, Georg Widhalm, Aysegül Ilhan-Mutlu, Christoph Minichsdorfer, Thorsten Fuereder, Thomas Szekeres, Leopold Oehler, Birgit Gruenberger, Christian F Singer, Ansgar Weltermann, Rainer Puhr, Matthias Preusser: Trastuzumab deruxtecan in HER2-positive breast cancer with brain metastases: a single-arm phase 2 trial; in: Nature Medicine, (published: 08/08/2022), Nature Medicine

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