Treating breast cancer without chemotherapy, achieving the same effectiveness against the disease but reducing the side effects on the patient. This is the goal of a new clinical study underway at the San Gerardo hospital in Monza, il Phergain-2 protocol available at the Phase 1 Research Center of the Asst Brianza.
“Participating in this clinical trial represents a great opportunity for our patients because they avoid chemotherapy and in addition they receive the two biological drugs in the subcutaneous formulation, thus avoiding long stays in hospital for intravenous infusions”, says Marina Cazzaniga, director of the Center for research Phase 1 Asst Monza, professor of medical oncology at the University of Milan Bicocca.
Breast cancer treatment without chemo is possible
Not all breast cancers require chemotherapy: some cancers, for example those that express hormone receptors, can be treated effectively with hormone therapy alone and today, thanks to the progress of recent years, even with molecularly targeted drugs.
The tested treatment
However, there is a particular type of breast cancer that still requires the use of chemotherapy, and it is on this that the efforts of researchers are now focused: “We are trying to reduce the use of some therapies, such as chemotherapy, in those forms of breast cancer that can be treated with good results with only biological drugs with the aim of minimizing side effects, with the same efficacy ».
It is breast cancer that expresses the Her2 receptor in large quantities: “These tumors are very sensitive to treatment with specific agents directed against the Her2 receptor, however for a long time we believed that without chemotherapy they would not work, especially when these tumors are of considerable size »explains doctor Cazzinga. But research progresses and now things have changed. With the new study, doctors say that “patients who have tumors of small size, less than 2.5 cm, and the absence of pathological lymph nodes in the axillary, can be treated with the combination of trastuzumab and pertuzumab, now one of the strategies of combination more effective, without chemotherapy “.
Two years ago the Phergain-1 study
Two years ago the same research group conducted another study dedicated to women with this type of cancer, the Phergain-1 study. Even then the results were encouraging: «To the great satisfaction of our patients because some were able to avoid chemotherapy, if the tumor shrunk during the first two treatment cycles with the same combination that we propose today, in a completely new formula. But also a great satisfaction for all of us, because we have treated our patients while improving their quality of life ».