Herceptin May Help Others
This is tantalizing news. A new study from the University of Michigan suggests that herceptin may also be beneficial to some women with her2 negative breast cancers. I expect it is safe to say that we all are grateful and delighted for any treatment that helps any of us, but it may also be safe to say that those of us with her2 negative cancers wish that more things were coming along that might help us, too.
Here is what happened. During a trial of herceptin for women with her2 positive cancers, some women were included by mistake--meaning that the pathology reading was wrong (not so encouraging), and that in fact they had her2 negative cancers. When this was later discovered and their results were studied independently, they had done even better than those women with legitimate her2 positive cancers. Their recurrence rate was reduced by 50%. Now, I am guessing that part of the explanation is that her2 negative cancers are generally less aggressive, so slowing them down may result in a bigger benefit. That is, it might be (and I am purely speculating here) that these women would have done better anyway. Whatever the explanation, I think this is potentially very exciting news.
I give you the beginning of an article from Time and then a link to read more: (AND PS, IF YOU ARE READING ANY OF THIS AND ENJOYING IT OR NOT LIKING IT OR HAVING THOUGHTS ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE READ, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT. I WOULD LOVE TO THINK I AM NOT SENDING THESE DAILY MUSINGS OUT INTO EMPTY SPACE)
Herceptin May Benefit Wider Group of Breast Cancer Patients
By Alexandra Sifferlin Feb. 27, 2013 Add a Comment
The breakthrough drug, which targets a small percentage of breast
tumors, may be effective against more cancers, according to the latest
About 20% of women have breast cancers that are HER2 positive,
meaning the tumor cells carry a protein on their surface that helps
tumors grow faster. Herceptin (Trastuzumab), which binds to these
proteins, blocks these cells from obtaining the nutrients they need to
thrive, and in combination with other therapies, including
chemotherapy or surgery, can dramatically reduce the recurrence
rate of additional cancers.
Now researchers from the University of Michigan Comprehensive
Cancer Center report in the journal Cancer Research that Herceptin
may help women with HER2 negative tumors as well.