Drug Combos Hailed as Big Breast Cancer Breakthrough

New drug combos delay tumor growth in advanced cases
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2011 6:04 AM CST
"My quality of life has been wonderful," says Rachel Midgett, center, a breast cancer patient who has been undergoing the experimental new treatment.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

(Newser) – Two new studies mark what could be the biggest breakthrough in treating breast cancer in more than a decade, researchers say. Both involve combining drug therapies that attack tumors in different ways, significantly delaying the time until women with advanced breast cancer became sicker, the AP reports. One treatment held tumor growth at bay for around six months longer than conventional treatments; the other delayed it for four months longer.

"These are two terrific new options. They are laying out a map on the way forward for breast cancer," a Harvard professor involved in both studies tells the Los Angeles Times. "The way forward is by doing smart combination therapies." The new drugs involved—which are likely to cost around $10,000 a month—have not yet proven to be cures, experts caution, but doctors hope they might be when they are tested on patients in the early stages of the disease.

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