But for now, lapatinib is going to be used to treat women with breast cancer that can no longer be effectively treated with trastuzumab, or when a woman cannot tolerate trastuzumab.
Advances in the treatment of cancer rarely come in big, giant steps. They come in a series of smaller advances that, when grouped together over time, result in significant progress.
That has been the case with the treatment of colorectal cancer and breast cancer, and this pending announcement regarding the possible approval of lapatinib will have a similar impact.
But that does not diminish the fact that we are in the midst of a revolution in which we are rapidly developing and using targeted therapies for targeted cancers.
The era of truly personalized medicine in the treatment of cancer is just beginning.
Dr. Len Lichtenfeld is deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. You can view the full blog by clicking here.