Monday, October 20, 2014

Herceptin extends survival for in HER2 breast cancer

CANCER DIGEST – Oct. 20, 2014 – Women with early stage, HER 2 positive breast cancer had a 37 percent improvement in survival and a 40 percent reduction in risk of recurrence, when treated with Herceptin (trastuzumab) compared to patients treated with chemotherapy alone. Tumors with the human epidermal growth factor 2 protein, or HER 2 positive breast cancer, tend to have more aggressive cancer.

The findings came from eight-year follow-up data from two clinical trials with a combined 4,046 patients. The results were published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The studies tested the addition of trastuzumab to chemotherapy after surgery. All patients received a standard combination chemotherapy and then half received paclitaxel with trastuzumab and the other half were treated with paclitaxel alone.

HER2-positive breast cancer accounts for 15-20 percent of invasive breast cancers. Before the development of trastuzumab, women with early stage breast cancer faced a worse prognosis than those with HER2-negative breast cancer, including quicker relapse, higher incidence of metastasis, and shorter survival, according to lead author, Edith A. Perez, M.D., deputy director at large, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and director of the Breast Cancer Translational Genomics Program at Mayo Clinic in Florida. Herceptin is now considered part of standard treatment for HER 2 positive breast cancer.

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