In a nutshell
This study wanted to find out which medication is better for treating HER-2 positive breast cancer, a class of medicines called anthracyclines plus trastuzmab (Herceptin) and pertuzmab (Perjeta), or carboplatin (Paraplatin) plus trastuzmab and pertuzmab. The study found that both medications worked equally as well as each other, but the group who took anthracyclines had more serious side effects.
HER-2 positive breast cancer is a type of cancer that has a receptor on the tumor cells called HER-2. It is possible to target these types of cancer with medication like trastuzmab and pertuzmab. It is not known what other types of medication can be used alongside trastuzmab and pertuzmab to help improve the outcome of HER-2 positive breast cancer.
Methods & findings
This study had 418 patients. All of these patients had stage 2 or 3 HER-2 positive breast cancer. All of the patients took trastuzmab and pertuzmab. Of these, 206 patients also took carboplatin. The other 212 patients took a class of medication called anthracyclines. The patients were followed for an average of 19 months to see what happened to the cancer.
In the carboplatin group, 68% of the patients had a complete response to the treatment, and there were no cancer cells found in the body. In the anthracycline group, 67% of the patients had a complete response to the treatment. Serious adverse events were seen in 22% of the carboplatin group, and seen in 28% of the anthracycline group. It was found that 60% of the patients in the anthracycline group had a very serious decrease in the white blood cells in the body. This compares to 54% of the patients in the carboplatin group seeing a serious decrease in the white blood cells in the body.
The bottom line
This study found that adding anthracyclines or carboplatin to trastuzmab and pertuzmab treatment for patients with HER-2 postive breast cancer worked equally as well. There was a higher chance of damaging the white blood cells in the body with the anthracycline treatment.
The fine print
This is a medium sized study. The follow up time of 19 months was quite short. This study will need to be done again with a longer follow up time to confirm the results.
Published By :
The Lancet. Oncology
Nov 06, 2018
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