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(WZZM) - It looks like two drugs are not better than one for a woman with HER2-positive breast cancer.

The Mayo Clinic just reported the results of a phase three clinical trial. Researchers paired the drug Herceptin, known to prevent the return of cancer, with another drug called lapatinib.

The hope was the two would work better together to keep breast cancer from returning than Herceptin by itself, but that wasn't the case.

When given to women after surgery, doctors noticed the combination was more toxic to women.

"These results were surprising and very important," said Dr. Edith Perez with the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. "These findings suggest that standard (post-surgery) treatment for early stage HER2-positive breast cancer should remain (Herceptin) in combination with chemotherapy."

More than 8,000 women from 44 countries participated in this phase three clinical trial. Dr. Perez with the Mayo Clinic co-chaired the study.

Though the two drugs together did not show significant benefit, the study did verify Herceptin by itself is still the best treatment for women with HER2-positive breast cancer.
"So we found patients were doing better and toxicity, at least from the trastuzumab (Herceptin) containing anti-HER2 treatment is really much better than we had anticipated or even seen in the past," said Dr. Perez.

To learn more about this study, click here.

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