Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

US FDA approves expanded use of AstraZeneca cancer drug

US FDA approves expanded use of AstraZeneca cancer drug

While only about five per cent of breast cancers are diagnosed in women younger than 40, a high proportion of deaths fall in this age category.

"This important topic needs more prospective research as preventive surgical measures might have an effect on what might be a very long life after a diagnosis of breast cancer at a young age", wrote Peter Fasching from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany.

The women's medical records were tracked for up to 10 years.

She said she was now keen to understand how women fared more than 10 years after their diagnosis.

These are offered to women with faulty genes to cut their risk of developing cancer. "It is the first time any drug has been approved to treat certain patients with metastatic breast cancer who have a "BRCA" gene mutation", the agency said in a statement released to the media.

Women who have BRCA mutations do as well after treatment for breast cancer as other patients, British researchers reported Thursday.

Survival rates after two years were 97 percent for women with a BRCA mutation and 96.6 percent for those without the mutation, the findings showed. "Understanding prognosis in young patients is important because patients with BRCA mutations are at increased risk of developing specific conditions, such as secondary cancers, including ovarian cancer, contralateral breast cancer, and de novo breast cancer in the same breast".

AZN received good news today when the FDA approved LYNPARZA (olaparib) for HER2-negative breast cancer patients whose tumors harbor the BRCA mutation, the first such approval worldwide. This surgery did not appear to improve their chances of survival at the 10-year mark.

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BRCA2 - Mutations prevent DNA from repairing itself properly, leading to breast cancer.

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Angelina Jolie had a preventative mastectomy, before she developed cancer.

Miss Jolie, 42, famously chose to have her breasts, ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to reduce her cancer risk, after her mother died of ovarian cancer aged just 56.

She added: "In view of this, younger women with breast cancer can take time to discuss whether radical breast surgery is the right choice for them as part of a longer-term risk reducing strategy".

The research team, led by the University of Southampton, used data from 2,733 young women in 127 United Kingdom hospitals who had been diagnosed with primary breast cancer before the age of 40.

Katherine Woods, from charity Breast Cancer Now said the findings "could enable many patients to make even more informed choices regarding their treatment".

However, the researchers noted the results might not translate to older women with a BRCA mutation, as they were not involved in the study and more research would be needed in this area.

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