US FDA approves expanded use of AstraZeneca cancer drug

US FDA approves expanded use of AstraZeneca cancer drug

The good news for young women who carry the infamous BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene is that their chances of survival after conventional breast cancer treatment are the same as those who don't have the mutation.

The study included 2733 women from 127 hospitals in the United Kingdom who had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40 or below.

Doctors had found that the star had mutations in BRCA genes which increase a woman's risk of breast cancer by four-to-eightfold. "This class of drugs has been used to treat advanced, BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer and has now shown efficacy in treating certain types of BRCA-mutated breast cancer", said Richard Pazdur, MD, director of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. About 12 percent of women are diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life.

Young women with the BRCA gene mutation that prompted actress Angelina Jolie's pre-emptive and much-publicised double mastectomy are not more likely to die after a breast cancer diagnosis, scientists said Friday.

And in women under the age of 40 diagnosed with breast cancer, a higher proportion have these faulty genes compared with older patients.

About 97 percent of women survived for more than two years after their diagnosis, while more than 83 percent and more than 70 percent survived for five and 10 years post-diagnosis, respectively.

This UK study findings suggest mastectomies and other invasive preventive surgery may not be necessary soon after diagnosis, as has been the norm.

Today, the FDA approved olaparib tablets (Lynparza) for the treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer whose tumors have a germline genetic mutation, according to a press release.

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The study, published in The Lancet Oncology journal, found no difference in overall survival regardless of whether the women had the faulty gene or not.

'This study can reassure young women with breast cancer ... that breast conservation with radiotherapy is a safe option in the first decade after diagnosis and double mastectomy is not essential or mandatory at initial treatment.

This means that breast cancer patients can wait and see how they feel about things and how their health is before they decide whether to have more surgery - for instance, to remove the healthy breast to lower any risk that breast cancer might return in that one.

The study involved 2,733 British women aged 18-40 who had been diagnosed with breast cancer between 2000 and 2008.

Twelve percent of patients had either a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

"Together, BRCA1 and _BRCA_2 mutations account for about 20 to 25 percent of hereditary breast cancers and about 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancers", the National Cancer Institute says.

Fasching added that "these risks determine treatment, and knowing that BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations do not result in a different prognosis might change the therapeutic approach for these risks".

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