‘Landmark’ breast cancer drug will extend lives of thousands of sufferers

A new drug that extends the lives of patients with advanced breast cancer has been hailed as a “landmark moment” in medicine.

Capivasertib blocks a key cancer -driving protein and when combined with hormone therapy doubled the time patients had without their tumours progressing.

It could benefit 8,000 women in the UK each year with ER positive HER-2 negative breast cancer, which accounts for 70% of new cases.

Manufactured by AstraZeneca, the drug will now be submitted to UK regulators before an expected rollout on the NHS in the next few years.

A trial at the Royal Marsden found treatment with capivasertib plus fulvestrant hormone therapy typically gave patients 7.2 months without their disease progressing, compared to 3.6 months with a placebo plus fulvestrant.

The treatment also shrank tumours in 23% of patients, compared with 12% of patients who received fulvestrant plus the –placebo.

Trial leader Prof Nick Turner, of the Royal Marsden, said: “This is a fantastic finding.

“Even with the best current treatments, people with this type of advanced breast cancer will eventually see their cancer stop responding to treatment.

“We believe this new treatment could allow more women and men to live well and live longer with breast cancer.”

Linda Kelly, 65, from Milton Keynes, Bucks, joined the trial in August 2021 after her breast cancer spread to her bones and chest wall.

She said: “The results have been amazing.”

The research was led by the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London.