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Marine sponge drug extends breast cancer survival

A new agent derived from a marine sponge can extend the survival rates of women with locally recurrent or metastatic breast cancer who already received extensive standard therapy.
Credit:   NOAA
The promising finding on the drug, known as eribulin, was presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

These results potentially establish eribulin as a new and effective treatment for women with heavily pretreated breast cance

—Twelves, who disclosed financial ties with Eisai, which makes eribulin.

The synthetic component called eribulin mesylate mimics a component found naturally in sponges and can prevent cell division, which causes cells to self-destruct, said study authors.

More than 750 women were randomized to receive either eribulin or a "treatment of physician's choice," the last because there isn't a standard treatment for this type of cancer, Leeds explained. In almost all cases, it was another chemotherapy.

The study included women who had already been treated extensively for their cancer, with the average patient already having undergone four chemotherapies.

The researchers report a 23 percent improvement in median survival when women took eribulin, with the median survival for those in the eribulin group at just over 13 months vs. 10.7 months in the treatment-of -choice group.

Further reading â–º NOAA
Further reading â–º NOAA