According to an early online article published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the treatment regimen consisting of Taxotere® (docetaxel), Platinol® (cisplatin), and Herceptin® (trastuzumab) prior to surgery is highly effective in the treatment of HER2-positive, locally advanced breast cancer.
Locally advanced breast cancer refers to a large cancer that is confined to the breast, or cancer that has spread to axillary (under the arm) lymph nodes.
Standard treatment for locally advanced breast cancer includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or hormone therapy.
Herceptin is a monoclonal antibody that targets the HER-2 protein-a protein that is involved in cellular growth and replication and overexpressed in roughly 30% of breast cancers. The binding of Herceptin to HER-2 prevents or reduces replication of cancer cells.
Herceptin is currently approved for the treatment of HER2-positive, metastatic breast cancer with the chemotherapy agent Taxol® (paclitaxel), or as a single agent in patients with HER-2positive breast cancer who have received prior therapy.
The combination of Herceptin with a chemotherapy agent improves breast cancer outcomes compared to chemotherapy alone in early breast cancer. Researchers therefore continue to evaluate ways to utilize Herceptin in the treatment of early breast cancer.
Researchers from the University of Miami, the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida, and the University of California at Los Angeles conducted a clinical trial to evaluate the treatment combination of Taxotere, cisplatin, and Herceptin in locally advanced, HER2-positive breast cancer in patients with large cancers.
This trial included 48 women with hormone-positive breast cancer who were treated with initial Taxotere/cisplatin/Herceptin followed by surgery, followed by subsequent chemotherapy including Adriamycin® (doxorubicin) and Cytoxan® (cyclophosphamide), radiation therapy and Nolvadex® (tamoxifen). Treatment was highly effective.
At a median follow-up of 43 months, the following results were observed:
- Progression-free survival was achieved in 81% of patients.
- Overall survival rate was 86%.
- Patients who achieved a complete disappearance of cancer cells in the breast and lymph nodes had a progression-free and overall survival rate of 100%.
- Patients who did not achieve a complete disappearance of cancer cells in the breast and lymph nodes had a progression-free survival rate of 76% and an overall survival rate of 83%.
- Treatment was well tolerated.
The researchers concluded that treatment consisting of Taxotere/cisplatin/Herceptin followed by surgery and subsequent Adriamycin/cyclophosphamide, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy if eligible provides excellent survival in patients with large, HER2-positive breast cancer, particularly among patients who achieve a complete disappearance of their cancer cells. Future trials further evaluating this treatment regimen are warranted.
Reference: Hurley J, Doliny P, Reis I, et al. Docetaxel, Cisplatin, and Trastuzumab As Primary Systemic Therapy for Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2-Positive Locally Advanced Breast Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2006. Early online publication. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2005.02.8886.
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