ZION — Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (CTCA Midwestern) in Zion has begun a phase II clinical trial using a chemotherapy-free approach for early-stage, non-metastatic, triple positive breast cancer.
The clinical trial combines two hormone receptor positive (HER2) targeted therapies — trastuzumab and pertuzumab, which are FDA approved to be given before surgery to shrink the cancer — and an anti-hormonal treatment called aromatase inhibitors to target the hormone receptors.
The purpose of the study is to validate more treatment options that have less long-term toxicity than chemotherapy for patients with triple-positive breast cancer.
Triple-positive breast cancer is an aggressive form of cancer that typically does not respond well to chemotherapy. Few studies to evaluate treatments of triple-positive breast cancer have been completed, even though it represents 10 percent of all breast cancers.
"What makes this trial so significant is that it may eventually provide answers to patient advocacy group demands for more treatment options, particularly those with less toxicity," said Dr. Eugene Ahn, a medical oncologist who is medical director of clinical research in integrative medical oncology at CTCA Midwestern.
The goal of the trial is for the chemotherapy-free approach to result in disappearance of all cancer in at least 40 percent of study participants.