Breast Cancer Drug Shows Effectiveness in Treating Gastric Cancer


Approved by the FDA in 2010 for the treatment of metastasized breast cancer and liposarcoma, Halaven (eribulin mesylate) is showing impressive results in fighting another form of cancer, gastric.

Cancer is a general name given to a collection of malignancies that operate by generating abnormal cells that become invasive. A big part of its complexity, and difficult to treat and cure, is the number of systems and regions it can attack, with virtually no part of the human body being safe. While there are similarities in the basic mechanism in which they operate, cancers (and treatments) differ wildly.

A new study exploring alternative combinations of drugs that might be used to treat advanced forms of gastric cancer found that low doses of eribulin mesylate were effective in managing the development of the disease. Gastric cancer cell proliferation was drastically reduced in peritoneal dissemination and in combination with 5-FU Fluorouracil presented antitumor effects. At doses of 0.1 mg/kg, it showed suppressed tumor progression and fibrosis-inhibiting properties.

Peritoneal dissemination, the most common cause of gastric cancer to become metastasized, is typically resistant to chemotherapy and extensive peritoneal lavages and even aggressive surgery have been mostly ineffective.  As it evolves, it can cause potentially fatal disorders like bowel obstruction, hydronephrosis or jaundice.

Just in the United States, there are about 26,240 new cases of gastric cancer discovered each year, with almost half resulting in fatalities. The disease mostly affects older people, with the average age being 68 years.

These findings could significantly improve the outcome for millions of people around the world and be an important step in developing more efficient targeted solutions.