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Posted by on Jan 2, 2019 in Breast cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study wanted to find out what the best length of treatment with trastuzumab (Herceptin) is for HER2+ early stage breast cancer. The study found that at least one year of treatment had the best results in terms of how well it worked, and the cost-effectiveness.

Some background

HER-2 positive breast cancer is a type of cancer where the cells have a receptor on them for the human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER-2). This receptor is on the cells in 15-20% of breast cancers. Cancers that are HER-2 positive are often hard to treat and result in a bad outcome for the patients. However, this receptor allows scientists to find medications that only work on the cells which have that receptor. Trastuzumab is a very effective medication for treating this type of breast cancer. The generally accepted length of treatment is one year. Studies have shown that two years of treatment does not add any survival benefit. However, it is not known if treatment for less than one year is equally as effective as treatment for a full year.

Methods & findings

This study consisted of 12000 patients. It looked at a number of different trials across a number of different countries. All the patients had HER2+ early stage breast cancer. Patients were treated with trastuzumab for either 9 weeks, 6 months, or one year.

The study found that survival was best in the group treated with trastuzumab for one year. Patients who had treatment with trastuzumab for one year also survived for longer without the disease coming back. However, there was a higher chance of experiencing side effects the longer the treatment went on.

The bottom line

The study concluded that treatment for less than one year with trastuzumab results in lower survival compared to treatment for one year or over.

The fine print

This is a very large study. The results are reliable, as they looked at a number of different smaller studies, and combined their results.

What’s next?

Discuss your treatment plan with your oncologist.

Published By :

Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

Date :

Sep 20, 2018

Original Title :

Optimal duration of adjuvant trastuzumab in treatment of early breast cancer: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

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