UK HealthCare

Novel Drug Shown to Slow Breast Cancer Growth Available in Markey Clinical Trial


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 6, 2012) — A new drug that could slow breast cancer metastasis by several months is currently available in a clinical trial at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center.

The novel agent, everolimus/RAD001 (BOLERO-2), was given in conjunction with exemestane, a hormone therapy treatment that deprives tumors of estrogen to slow their growth. Everolimus works by inhibiting mTOR, a protein that often spurs tumor growth after tumors become resistant to hormone therapy.

The BOLERO-2 trial, presented this month at the San Antonio Breast Symposium, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that women who took both everolimus and exemestane had a median progression-free survival of almost 11 months compared with about four months for those who took a placebo plus exemestane.

Though everolimus isn't ready for widespread use yet — it needs  FDA  approval first— it is available  as part of  a clinical trial at the UK Markey Cancer Center for women with hormone receptor positive metastatic breast cancer that has not responded to aromatase inhibitor therapy.  The Markey trial combines everolimus with fulvestrant, another form of antiestrogen treatment.

Breast oncologist Dr. Suleiman Massarweh is the principal investigator for the project. The use of everolimus in conjunction with hormone therapy has been a major part of his work on endocrine therapy resistance for years now.

"This is an exciting time for novel therapies in hormone positive breast cancer, an area that has been my focus of research for 10 years,” Massarweh said. "It is gratifying to see this field grow and impact patient care, and for us to be at the forefront of this research."

For more information on this clinical trial, patients or physicans can contact Massarweh directly at or (859) 257-3608. For more information on other clinical trials at the UK Markey Cancer Center, visit the Markey website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or