A new target therapy, which uses ipatasertib, an oral AKT inhibitor, may prolong the progression-free survival period among triple-negative breast cancer patients, Asan Medical Center서울아산병원 said Monday.
Triple-negative breast cancer is a type of breast cancer that lacks the three most common types of receptors known to fuel breast cancer – growth estrogen, progesterone, and HER-2/neu gene. It is hard to treat as it only has an average PFS period of six months, does not respond well to anticancer drugs, and is more likely to spread and recur.
|Professor Kim Sung-bae of Asan Medical Center|
Ipatasertib is an oral AKT inhibitor used to suppress AKT pathway, a neural circuit that promotes the growth of cancerous cells.
The phase 2 clinical trials were published in Lancet Oncology, a globally renowned medical journal, combining the results of 124 triple negative breast cancer patients from 44 hospitals in eight countries, conducted between September 2014 and February 2016.
During the phase 2 trial, researchers assigned 124 triple negative breast cancer patients to randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Participants were divided into two groups, with all of them receiving intravenous paclitaxel (anticancer drug) with either ipatasertib or a placebo.
“PFS period for patients treated with ipatasertib was two times higher than those treated only with conventional chemotherapy,” said Professor Kim Sung-bae김성배, one of the co-authors of the trial from, the department of oncology at the medical center.
It is the first time that an AKT-target therapy showed positive results in treating triple-negative breast cancer, which had been treatable with only chemotherapy. The most common side effect of the treatment was diarrhea, and no serious side effects, including death, were observed. Patients also reported relatively improved quality of life throughout the treatment.
“This was the first research that showed the effectiveness of AKT-targeted therapy for triple-negative cancer, which lacks in a better treatment method,” Professor Kim said. “The treatment primarily showed superior results among patients with mutations in their PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway.”
During phase 3 of the clinical trial, researchers are likely to expand them to test ipatasertib effects on breast cancer patients with hormone-receptor-positive cancer, which accounts for 60 to 70 percent of breast cancer patients.
“During the clinical trial we will confirm the effectiveness of the treatment to additional triple-negative patients,” Kim said. “We also plan to conduct clinical trials on patients with hormone-receptor-positive.”
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