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Pfizer Breast Cancer Drug Superior to Chemotherapy in Late Stage Study

Patients with advanced breast cancer tied to an inherited gene mutation who were treated with an experimental Pfizer Inc drug went about three months longer before their disease worsened than those who received chemotherapy in a late stage study, according to data released on Friday.

The drug, talazoparib, a once daily pill that Pfizer acquired with its $14 billion purchase of Medivation, belongs to a class of medicines called PARP inhibitors that may induce tumor cell death. They have shown promise in advanced ovarian and breast cancers.

Patients in the Phase III study had mutations of the BRCA1/2 genes, the type of mutation that led actress Angelina Jolie to have preventive breast removal surgery.

About 3 percent of breast cancers occur in people with inherited BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations that lower a cell's ability to repair damaged DNA. Up to 65 percent of women who inherit the mutations will develop breast cancer, often much younger than is typical for the disease.

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Written by Bill Berkrot for

(Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson Reuters)

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