The FDA has approved Halaven (eribulin mesylate, from Eisai) for the treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer who have received at least two prior chemotherapy regimens for late-stage disease. This approval was based on a single study in 762 women with metastatic breast cancer who had received at least two prior chemotherapy regimens for late-stage disease. The study measured the length of time from when treatment was started until a patient’s death (overall survival). The median overall survival for patients receiving Halaven was 13.1 months compared with 10.6 months for those who received a single agent therapy.

Halaven is a synthetic form of a chemotherapeutically active compound derived from the sea sponge Halichondria okadai. This injectable therapy is a microtubule inhibitor, believed to work by inhibiting cancer cell growth. Before receiving Halaven, patients should have received prior anthracycline- and taxane-based chemotherapy for early or late-stage breast cancer.

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