HER2-positive breast cancer treatment has continued to evolve and now includes several therapy options. Although HER2-positive breast cancer is one of the most aggressive cancer types, it is possible to be controlled and treated with various targeted and biological drugs. 1 out of every 5 breast cancer cases are Her2-positive or derived from the ERBB2 (HER2) gene.
There are effective methods in managing HER2-positive breast cancer. Those include combination of chemotherapy drugs along with specific regimens used for HER2-positive breast cancer treatment. Additionally, there are personalized “targeted therapy” drugs which directly target the HER2 protein. Examples of these are Trastuzumab and its biosimilars, TDM-1, Lapatinib, Pertuzumab, Tucatinib, Neratinib, Trastuzumab deruxtecan and other molecules in development.
What is HER2-positive Breast Cancer?
HER2-positive breast cancer occurs when an abnormal cellular process leads to the uncontrolled increase of HER2 protein level. This HER2 protein normally helps the growth, division, and repair of breast cells, but if the HER2 protein increases out of control it can drive breast cancer growth. It has been observed that HER2 genes in 20% of breast cancer patients do not function properly and promote breast cancer development.
HER2-positive Breast Cancer Treatment Options
HER-2 positive breast cancer can be controlled with drug therapy. By applying both chemotherapy and “targeted therapy”, the patient’s life span can be extended and the quality of life can be improved.
HER2-positive Breast Cancer Chemotherapy Treatment
Chemotherapy is drug treatment used to kill uncontrolled cancer cells in the body and stop the division of new ones. Chemotherapy is one of the most widely used methods among HER2-positive breast cancer treatment. Cancer cells reproduce very quickly, so chemotherapy drugs target cells that grow and divide very quickly in the body. However, since these drugs target the whole body, they may also target the other cells such as mouth, intestine, and hair follicles and show side effects.
The sides effect of chemotherapy are:
- Hair loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Inability to taste
- Bleeding or bruising
- Numbness in fingers
HER2-positive Breast Cancer Treatment Targeted Therapy
HER2-positive breast cancer refers that cancer cells in the body produce more HER2 protein than the normal level. This means a faster growing tumor than other breast cancers. But today, drugs have been developed that target the HER2 protein. These drugs are called “targeted therapy” or “HER2 targeted therapy“.
Herceptin (Trastuzumab) and Perjeta (Pertuzumab) are the most commonly used drugs to treat HER2-positive breast cancer. For further cases, Tykerb (Lapatinib) and Kadcyla (TDM-1) are used.
HER2 targeted therapy can cause some side effects. These side effects can be listed as follows:
- Sleep problems
- Decreased heart function
- Muscle pains
- Loss of appetite
Massive Bio ensures that you reach the most ideal treatment for your disease by bringing together the clinics, health institutions, and organizations that will apply the HER2-positive breast cancer treatment that is the best for you.