Around 20% of people with breast cancer, both men and women, have HER2-positive breast cancer. This type of cancer is aggressive and causes uncontrolled reproduction of breast cells.
The Typical Treatment of HER2-Positive Breast Cancer
The current treatment of this cancer includes chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or targeted treatments like Tykerb (Lapatinib), Perjeta (Pertuzumab), Kadcyla (Ado-trastuzumab-emtansine), and Herceptin (trastuzumab).
Targeted treatments interfere with the protein that signals the production of breast cells. They are usually combined with chemo, which is one of the most difficult treatments.
Can HER2-Positive Breast Cancer Be Treated in Another, Better Way?
Research led by Prof. Nigel Bundred and funded by Cancer Research UK has suggested a potential treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer that might be effective without combining it with chemo. The promising research was presented in the European Breast Cancer Conference held in Amsterdam in 2016.
Namely, 66 women with this cancer got a Tykerb and Herceptin combination treatment before surgery. When their results were compared to 191 similar women who were treated with only one of the medications or none of them, it turned out that 7 of the 66 patients had no trace of the tumor afterward. What’s more, the tumor in additional 11 women was drastically reduced.
The greater risk of reoccurrence of this type of cancer makes these findings really promising. Eliminating the traces of malignant tumors may help certain patients stay in remission.
BMJ Journal has since then published a meta-analysis of this particular combination treatment. Researchers have taken similar studies into consideration, suggesting that the treatment has positive effects on the treatment response and survival outlooks for patients with breast cancer whose bodies can tolerate it.
But, the meta-analysis has further discovered that even though the combination is more effective, it also has more side effects. That’s why researchers have concluded that it’s not suitable for every cancer patient.
Early detection of HER2-positive or HER2-negative breast cancer plays an important role in the treatment of the disease. That’s why people should know more about the signs of breast cancer as well as how to do a breast self-examination.
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