Interim results from the HERA (Herceptin Adjuvant) Trial indicate that the addition of Herceptin (trastuzumab) to adjuvant chemotherapy for early breast cancer results in longer cancer-free survival. These results were presented at the 28th San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) and were also presented at the 2005 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Herceptin is a monoclonal antibody that targets the HER2 protein-a protein that is involved in cellular growth and replication and overexpressed in roughly 30% of breast cancers. The binding of Herceptin to HER2 prevents or reduces replication of cancer cells.
The HERA Trial is a multicenter study that enrolled 5000 patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. One-third of the patients were lymph-node negative. Patients were treated with surgery as well as four cycles of chemotherapy (most patients received an anthracycline-containing regimen). Patients were then randomly assigned to receive one year of Herceptin, two years of Herceptin, or no Herceptin. Results from this study are reported and updated as new information becomes available.
Interim results were initially presented at the 2005 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). These results indicated that patients who received Herceptin after adjuvant chemotherapy had longer cancer-free survival than patients who did not receive Herceptin.
Similar results were reported more recently at SABCS. After a median of 1.5 years of follow-up, two-year cancer-free survival was 86% for patients treated with Herceptin and 77% for patients who did not receive Herceptin. Additional follow-up will be necessary to determine whether Herceptin significantly improves overall survival. Significant adverse effects included severe heart problems, which developed in 0.5% of patients treated with Herceptin.
Results from the HERA Trial continue to indicate a benefit of Herceptin after adjuvant chemotherapy for HER2-positive breast cancer. Longer follow-up is necessary to determine the differences in overall survival among the three treatment groups.
Reference: Hera Study Team. Trastuzumab (H: Herceptin) following adjuvant chemotherapy (CT) significantly improves disease-free survival (DFS) in early breast cancer (BC) with HER2 overexpression: the HERA Trial. Program and abstracts of the 28th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; December 8-11, 2005;San Antonio, Texas. Abstract 11.
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