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Ask the Experts: Everolimus to Treat Breast Cancer

CHEVIOT, Ohio (Liz Bonis) -- A drug that's been used for a lot of other serious health problems has now been shown to help fight breast cancer. Medical reporter Liz Bonis Asks the Experts at TriHealth to tell us how it works our Medical Edge. It's is a medication called everolimus.

Now  Dr. Jose Barreau says he's getting new questions about everolimus, much like one we had submitted online, "everolimus has been around for several years, in studies and approved for other types cancers."

Our question this week came from Ken who wanted to know a little bit more about this drug, not for what we've heard about it so far, but for it's newer use in metastatic breast cancer disease.  "Breast cancers that have become resistant to endocrine therapy or hormone therapy respond to everolimus in combination with another endocrine therapy."

While most breast cancer patients such as Janice Christoph respond well to hormone therapy, "I am doing very well."  A few who take hormone medications such as tamoxifen to keep it at bay build up a tolerance to it. "It could work for years, but eventually the cancer become resistant to this pill, and that's where the everolimus comes in, you can add everolimus to a new endocrine therapy pill, and you get great response rates and improvement in progression through survival, overall survival."

Dr. Barreau says this gives us a whole new option to help breast cancer patients, because it works in a whole new way. "What it does is it overrides the resistance that a breast cancer gets to endocrine therapy."

It also adds to the quality of a survivor's life, which as Janice Christoph knows can be influenced by the side effects of other drugs such as chemotherapy. She says in this journey, if you ask what she's learned a long the way, "about myself? that I am a lot stronger than I thought, I just didn't know how I would react, I just say well, a lot of people have it worse."

She credits that strength to a promise she made to stay positive and simply be grateful for the gift of every day.

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