A new study has demonstrated that a drug combination of lapatinib (Tyverb or Tykerb) and trastuzumab (Herceptin) before surgery shrinks and may it even elimate tumors in women with an aggressive form of breast cancer within 11 days, potentially eliminating the need for chemotherapy in the future. "We were particularly surprised by these findings as this was a short-term trial," one of the lead researchers, Judith Bliss from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, told the BBC. "It became apparent some had a complete response. It's absolutely intriguing, it is so fast."

The experiment was conducted with 257 women who had been diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer between 1 and 3 cm in size, science alert reports.“For some HER2 positive breast cancer patients the effect of this drug combination will be amazing and mean they can avoid chemotherapy and its gruelling side effects completely. For others, their tumors may not shrink, but doctors will know either way very quickly, giving them the ability to rapidly decide on further treatment, " Samia al Qadhi, chief executive at Breast Cancer Care, said.“Although an early study, this has game changing potential. Yet before this can be made available we need to see more evidence. Particularly because, at present, trastuzumab’s (Herceptin) licensing means it is only available to be used alongside chemotherapy and not alone. All cancer patients deserve access to clinically effective treatments.”