Adjuvant Breast Cancer Treatment
If you’ve been diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer, you want to do all you can to fight it.
Herceptin has been studied in more than 10,000 women.
Your doctor may prescribe adjuvant Herceptin therapy for you. Herceptin is an approved adjuvant therapy for HER2+ early-stage breast cancer.
Adjuvant therapy is additional treatment for early breast cancer that is given after the main treatment (usually surgery). Adjuvant therapy for HER2+ breast cancer may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, or targeted therapy.
Herceptin is targeted therapy for HER2+ breast cancer1,2
Targeted cancer therapy is a type of cancer treatment that targets specific characteristics of cancer cells and may also affect normal cells.
Important Safety Information
Some patients receiving HERCEPTIN for breast cancer had the following side effects:
- Feeling sick to your stomach (nausea)
- Throwing up (vomiting)
- Infusion reactions
- Increased cough
- Feeling tired
- Shortness of breath
- Low white and red blood cell counts
- Muscle pain
You should contact your doctor immediately if you have any of the side effects listed above.
In 4 trials of more than 10,000 women with early-stage breast cancer
Based on clinical studies, Herceptin demonstrated significant benefits when administered for 1 year1
It is recommended that Herceptin be taken for 1 year unless your side effects become unmanageable.
Herceptin is given as an IV infusion, and there are 3 ways you can be treated. Your doctor will decide which treatment option is best for you.
- AC→TH: Herceptin is taken as part of a treatment course including the chemotherapy drugs doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, and either paclitaxel or docetaxel
- TCH: Herceptin is taken along with the chemotherapy drugs docetaxel and carboplatin
- Monotherapy: Herceptin is taken alone after treatment with several other therapies, including an anthracycline (doxorubicin)-based therapy (a type of chemotherapy)
The available dosing options are:
- With chemotherapy: When you are taking Herceptin together with chemotherapy, you will receive Herceptin once a week
- After chemotherapy: When you are taking Herceptin after surgery and completion of chemotherapy, you may receive Herceptin either every 3 weeks OR once a week. Your doctor will determine whether weekly treatment or treatment every 3 weeks with Herceptin is right for you
Serious Side Effects
Be sure to contact your doctor if you:
Are a woman who could become pregnant, or may be pregnant
HERCEPTIN may result in the death of an unborn baby or birth defects. Contraception should be used while receiving HERCEPTIN and for 7 months after your last dose of HERCEPTIN. If you are or become pregnant while receiving HERCEPTIN or within 7 months after your last dose of HERCEPTIN, you should immediately report HERCEPTIN exposure to Genentech at 1-888-835-2555.
Have any signs of SEVERE LUNG PROBLEMS, including
- Severe shortness of breath
- Fluid in or around the lungs
- Weakening of the valve between the heart and the lungs
- Not enough oxygen in the body
- Swelling of the lungs
- Scarring of the lungs
Your doctor may check for signs of severe lung problems when he or she examines you.
Have LOW WHITE BLOOD CELL COUNTS
Low white blood cell counts can be life threatening. Low white blood cell counts were seen more often in patients receiving HERCEPTIN plus chemotherapy than in patients receiving chemotherapy alone.
Your doctor may check for signs of low white blood cell counts when he or she examines you.
Why is my heart being monitored while I'm on Herceptin?
Herceptin (trastuzumab) can cause heart problems including an inability to pump blood effectively, irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure, disabling heart failure, weakening of the heart muscle, and sudden loss of heart function leading to death. Herceptin may cause reduced heart function even if there are no symptoms.
Before taking your first dose of Herceptin, your doctor should check to see if you have any health conditions that may increase your chance of having serious heart problems. This includes a review of your health history and tests to see how well your heart muscle is working. These tests may include an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound image of the heart, or a MUGA scan, which takes a moving picture of your heart pumping blood following an injection of a radioactive substance.
In addition, you should be frequently monitored for decreasing heart function during the time you are receiving Herceptin and after your last dose of Herceptin. If you must permanently or temporarily stop Herceptin due to heart problems, you should be monitored more frequently.
What has happened to other women after their Herceptin has been stopped due to heart problems?
- In one study of patients receiving adjuvant therapy for breast cancer, 16% had to stop Herceptin because of a significant weakening of heart muscle or decreased heart function
- In another study, 2.6% of patients stopped Herceptin because of heart problems
- In two adjuvant clinical trials, among the 32 patients with significant heart problems:
- One died of significantly weakened heart muscle
- All others were on heart medication at their last checkup
- Approximately half of the surviving patients had heart function that returned to normal while on ongoing heart medications