Approximately 1 in 5 women with breast cancer have HER2+ (Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2-positive) breast cancer. For women with HER2+ breast cancer, Herceptin (generic name: Trastuzumab) can be used as a form of treatment.
The HER2 gene is present in all human cells and it is responsible for the division and growth of the cell. But too many HER2 genes in a cell can result in an over-abundance of receptors on the cell’s surface; this is called protein over-expression. Over-expression causes cells to divide uncontrollably which leads to the spread of cancer.
Testing to see whether or not your breast cancer is HER2+ will determine which cancer therapies to pursue. Herceptin is an HER2-targeted therapy. More specifically, it is an HER2-specific antibody which binds to the cancer cells and disrupts the uncontrolled growth cycle. Due to continued positive results, Herceptin has become a first-line therapy for HER2+ breast cancer.
Additionally, Herceptin can be used as a form of continued maintenance therapy for patients in remission from HER2+ breast cancer. Sequential Herceptin treatments beyond the initial chemotherapy regiment has demonstrated positive results for patients in remission and have contributed to an increased survival rate in women with HER2+ breast cancer.
At Oncology Specialists of Charlotte, we are here to guide you through the complicated decisions that you’ll face when you receive a painful diagnosis. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are curious about treatments like Herceptin, then please contact us today.