Fight HER2+ Breast Cancer with Herceptin
Approximately 1 in 5 patients with breast cancer has HER2+ breast cancer.1 If you have HER2+ breast cancer, Herceptin is a therapy designed to help fight your kind of cancer.
How HER2+ breast cancer is different
Not all breast cancers are the same. HER2+ breast cancer cells have more HER2 receptors (a particular protein found on the surface of cells) than normal breast cells.
- Having too many HER2 receptors may make the cancer cells grow and divide faster, creating more HER2+ cancer cells
- HER2+ breast cancer is considered aggressive because it grows and spreads quickly
Targeted therapy is available for some women with HER2+ breast cancer.
Aggressive cancers are cancers that grow and spread very quickly. HER2+ breast cancer (your doctor may call it “HER2-overexpressing breast cancer”) is considered aggressive because the cells have too many HER2 receptors, which cause the cells to grow and divide too quickly.
- American Cancer Society. Breast cancer detail guide. www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/detailedguide/breast-cancer-pdf2. Updated February 22, 2016. Accessed April 26, 2016.
Who is Herceptin for?
Adjuvant Breast Cancer
Herceptin is approved for the treatment of early-stage breast cancer that is Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2-positive (HER2+) and has spread into the lymph nodes, or is HER2-positive and has not spread into the lymph nodes. If it has not spread into the lymph nodes, the cancer needs to be estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor (ER/PR)-negative or have one high risk feature.* Herceptin can be used in several different ways:
- As part of a treatment course including the chemotherapy drugs doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, and either paclitaxel or docetaxel. This treatment course is known as "AC→TH."
- With the chemotherapy drugs docetaxel and carboplatin. This treatment course is known as "TCH."
- Alone after treatment with multiple other therapies, including an anthracycline (doxorubicin)-based therapy (a type of chemotherapy).
*High risk is defined as ER/PR-positive with one of the following features: tumor size >2 cm, age <35 years, or tumor grade 2 or 3.
Metastatic Breast Cancer
Herceptin has 2 approved uses in metastatic breast cancer:
- Herceptin in combination with the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel is approved for the first line treatment of Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2-positive (HER2+) metastatic breast cancer.
- Herceptin alone is approved for the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer in patients who have received one or more chemotherapy courses for metastatic disease.
Early-stage and metastatic are different stages of cancer. A cancer's stage refers to how much the cancer has grown and where it has spread. Staging systems help describe the cancer, so that your doctor can decide what treatments will be appropriate.
HERCEPTIN is not for everyone. Be sure to contact your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following:
These include heart problems—such as congestive heart failure or reduced heart function—with or without symptoms. The risk for and seriousness of these heart problems were highest in people who received both HERCEPTIN and a certain type of chemotherapy (anthracycline). In a study of adjuvant (early) breast cancer, one patient died of significantly weakened heart muscle. Your doctor will check for signs of heart problems before, during, and after treatment with HERCEPTIN.
INFUSION REACTIONS, including:
- Fever and chills
- Feeling sick to your stomach (nausea)
- Throwing up (vomiting)
- Pain (in some cases at tumor sites)
- Shortness of breath
These signs usually happen within 24 hours after receiving HERCEPTIN.