WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal health regulators have approved a new medicine from Pfizer Inc. to treat postmenopausal women with a certain type of advanced breast cancer who have not previously taken other drugs.

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The Food and Drug Administration approved Ibrance for women who have tumors that overproduce a protein known as HER-2. This protein causes cancer cells to divide and grow faster than usual. The injectable drug is intended to be used in combination with another cancer drug known generically as letrozole.

The agency granted the drug accelerated approval based on research showing it slowed the progression of breast cancer. Patients taking Ibrance and letrozole lived 20.2 months on average before their tumors worsened. That was about twice as long as the benefit for women in a comparison group who only received letrozole.


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