An application for approval of the breast-cancer drug Tyverb (lapatinib) as a first-line treatment in Europe and the US has been made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Known as Tykerb in the US, it was previously approved there as a second-line treatment for women with advanced breast cancer that was not responding to chemotherapy and other drugs.
Being more targeted than chemotherapy, it has also been approved for second-line use in the 27 European Union countries and elsewhere, with sales of £132 million last year. That figure would be substantially increased following first-line approval.
Tyverb is the first oral, small molecule dual targeted therapy that works by getting inside the cancer cell to inhibit both ErbB1 (EGFR) and ErbB2 (HER2), two receptor proteins which are responsible for tumour growth.
GlaxoSmithKline is now seeking to market the drug as a first-line treatment for hormone-sensitive cancers, which are fuelled by oestrogen and include two-thirds of tumours.
Copyright Press Association 2009