In a nutshell
This study investigated the effect of delaying trastuzumab (Herceptin) therapy in patients with breast cancer. The study concluded that delays in receiving trastuzumab therapy of 6 months or more leads to decreased overall survival and relapse-free survival time.
Some breast cancers depend on the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) for growth. HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer generally responds to treatments that block HER2. Trastuzumab is a common drug that blocks HER2. It is used as an adjuvant therapy (an additional therapy given after a primary treatment, such as surgery) to treat patients with HER2+ breast cancer. Trastuzumab reduces the risk of relapse (return of the cancer) but little information is available on what effect the timing of trastuzumab therapy has on the risk of relapse and on survival.
Methods & findings
The study analyzed information from a database and included data from 2749 women with HER2+ non-metastatic (meaning the cancer has not spread) breast cancer.
Patients who started trastuzumab therapy more than 6 months after breast cancer diagnosis had a 51% increased risk of relapse and a 54% increased risk of death than those who started trastuzumab therapy within 6 months of diagnosis. 15.2% of patients who received therapy within 6 months of diagnosis experienced a relapse. However, 24.3% of patients who received therapy more than 6 months after diagnosis experienced a relapse.
The bottom line
The current study concluded that delays in receiving trastuzumab therapy of 6 months or more leads to decreased overall survival and relapse-free survival time.
The fine print
This study classifies more than 6 months as a “delay” in receiving therapy. However, the best time to start treatment may be different depending on the patient's unique needs.
Published By :
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
Apr 23, 2016
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