Treatment of Her2 Postive
It is amazing to realize that herceptin is old news. When the results of clinical trials of herceptin in the treatment of women with her2 positive breast cancers were announced at ASCO in 2005, it was a revelation. For perhaps the first and only time at a national medical/scientific meeting, the audience exploded into a standing ovation. Since then, herceptin has become the central treatment, accompanied by chemotherapy, for women with this kind of cancer, and it has been followed by development of other similar drugs. Since these breast cancers used to be especially lethal, this has been life-saving news.
Here is the abstract from Breast Cancer: Targets and Therapy about more advances in this research:
New developments in the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer
Abstract: Approximately 20%-30% of metastatic breast cancers show increased expression of the human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) tyrosine kinase. Two HER2-specific therapies are currently approved for clinical treatment of patients with HER2-overexpressing metastatic breast cancer. Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody against HER2 and is approved for first-line treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. Lapatinib is a small molecule dual inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor and HER2 tyrosine kinases, and is approved for trastuzumab-refractory disease. Although trastuzumab is a highly effective therapy for patients with HER2-overexpressing metastatic breast cancer, a significant number of patients in the initial clinical trials of trastuzumab monotherapy showed resistance to trastuzumab-based therapy. Further,among those who did respond, the initial trials indicated that the median time to progression was less than 1 year. Similarly, lapatinib is effective in a subset of trastuzumab-refractory cases, but the majority of patients display resistance. This review discusses the multiple molecular mechanisms of resistance that have been proposed in the literature. In addition, novel agents that are being tested for efficacy against HER2-positive breast cancer, including the antibodies pertuzumab and trastuzumab-DM1 and the immunotoxin affitoxin, are reviewed. The introduction of trastuzumab has revolutionized the clinical care of patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer and has resulted in dramatic reductions in recurrences of early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer.
The development and implementation of gene- and protein-based assays that measure potential molecular predictors of trastuzumab resistance will allow individualization of HER2-targeted therapeutic approaches, and may ultimately improve treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer.