The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved the use of an advanced breast cancer drug that targets tumor cells.
The drug Kadcyla is produced by Roche. Kadcyla combines the popular breast cancer drug Herceptin with a powerful chemotherapy drug. The drug then uses a third chemical to link those two drugs together. The chemical keeps the drugs bound together so they can target breast cancer cells and destroy tumors.
Researchers working on the drug found fewer side effects with better results, specifically for patients with advanced forms of breast cancer.
The FDA has approved the treatment for approximately 20 percent of breast cancer patients. Patients approved for the drug suffer from a more aggressive form of breast cancer and respond worse to hormone therapy.
The drug will not be cheap at $9,800 per month. That is compared to $4,500 per month for standard Herceptin treatment. With nine months of treatments required, the cost of the program is approximately $94,000.
FDA scientists upon investigating the drug found that it could delay breast cancer progression by several months. Researchers for Roche found that the drug delayed death by 9.6 months.
Patients taking Kadcyla lived 2.6 years compared to 2 years with other drugs.
The drug is approved for patients with advanced breast cancer who have already been treated with Herceptin and taxane.
The FDA warns that the drug can cause liver toxicity, heart problems, and potentially death. The drug is also not approved for pregnant women as it can cause birth defects.
Here is the injection information for Kadcyla: