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New Treatment for Aggressive Breast Cancer Shows Some Promise

Posted 11 Dec 2013 by

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2013 – Women with aggressive breast cancer who receive combination targeted therapy with chemotherapy prior to surgery have a slightly improved chance of staying cancer-free, researchers say. However, the improvement was not statistically significant and the jury is still out on combination treatment, said lead researcher Dr. Martine Piccart-Gebhart, chair of the Breast International Group, in Brussels. "I don't think that tomorrow we should switch to a new standard of care," she said. Piccart-Gebhart presented her findings Wednesday at the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, alongside other research that investigated ways to improve treatment for women with HER2-positive breast cancer. This aggressive form of cancer is linked to a genetic irregularity. Other researchers reported the following: The targeted drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) worked better in ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Herceptin, Carboplatin, Taxotere, Docetaxel, Tykerb, Lapatinib, Carboplatin Novaplus, Trastuzumab, Paraplatin, Docefrez

Cancer Chemotherapy Tied to Slight Rise in Risk for Leukemia

Posted 14 Feb 2013 by

THURSDAY, Feb. 14 – Chemotherapy can be a lifesaver for thousands of cancer patients, but a new study suggests that it might slightly raise the odds for a type of leukemia later in life. Over the past 30 years, the risk for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has increased for patients who underwent chemotherapy for certain forms of cancer, particularly non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the new study found. On the other hand, the researchers from the U.S. National Cancer Institute said other cancer survivors may have a reduced risk for AML due to a change in chemotherapy agents that occurred decades ago. One expert not connected to the study stressed that cancer patients need to put the findings into perspective. "It's important to realize that the risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia related to prior chemotherapy is small and increases with the number of chemotherapy treatments given over time," ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Provera, Methotrexate, Depo-Provera, Lupron, Accutane, Tamoxifen, Medroxyprogesterone, Arimidex, Lupron Depot, Femara, Gleevec, Fluorouracil, Claravis, Tretinoin, Zoladex, Rituxan, Votrient, Tarceva, Avastin

No Benefit Seen in Extending Herceptin for Breast Cancer

Posted 7 Dec 2012 by

FRIDAY, Dec. 7 – For women with a specific type of breast cancer, taking Herceptin for a year after initial treatment is just as effective – and safer – than staying on it for a longer period, new research suggests. Many of the women in the study, who had HER2-postive early stage breast cancer, were cancer-free eight years later and experienced no major heart problems, the international study on Herceptin (trastuzumab) found. "Giving trastuzumab for [two years] did not improve disease-free or overall survival, compared with one year of trastuzumab treatment," study author Dr. Martine Piccart, president of the European Society for Medical Oncology and chairwoman of the Breast International Group, said in a news release from the American Association for Cancer Research. The study was run by the Breast International Group and Roche, the maker of Herceptin. HER2-positive cancers are a ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Herceptin, Trastuzumab

Herceptin May Carry Higher Heart Risks for Women Than Thought

Posted 15 Nov 2012 by

THURSDAY, Nov. 15 – The risks of developing heart problems while taking the breast cancer drug Herceptin alone or with other anti-cancer drugs may be even higher for older women than thought, new research indicates. Herceptin (trastuzumab) has long been used to treat breast cancers that overproduce HER-2, also known as human epidermal growth factor. The drug improves disease-free and overall survival, but experts have known that it increases the risk of heart failure because it can affect the ability of the heart to pump blood. It can also raise the chances of developing cardiomyopathy, where the heart muscle becomes enlarged or rigid. Now, a new study that focused on women aged 67 and older has found that the risk may be higher than believed. The report is published online Nov. 14 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. For older women, the message is this, said study ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Herceptin, Trastuzumab

Breast Cancer Drug May Harm the Heart More Than Thought

Posted 30 Aug 2012 by

THURSDAY, Aug. 30 – Women with breast cancer who are treated with the cancer drug Herceptin may have more long-term cardiac problems than experts have thought, new research suggests. It has been known that women treated with anti-cancer drugs known as anthracyclines and Herceptin (trastuzumab) are at higher risk for heart failure and cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle. But, that information on risks has come primarily from clinical trials, which typically exclude women aged 70 and older and those with co-existing chronic diseases, so it doesn't necessarily give a real-world picture, the researchers noted. "The risk of heart failure associated with these drugs might be higher than what has been shown in clinical trials," explained study author Erin Aiello Bowles, an epidemiologist at Group Health Research Institute, in Seattle. Her report is published online Aug. 30 in the ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Herceptin, Trastuzumab

Is Cancer Outwitting 'Personalized Medicine'?

Posted 7 Mar 2012 by

WEDNESDAY, March 7 – The genetic makeup of cancer cells differs significantly from region to region within a single tumor, according to new research that raises questions about the true potential of personalized cancer medicine. With this treatment approach, doctors study a tumor's genetic makeup to determine which drugs would work best in a particular patient. But if the genetic mutations driving the cancer cells vary widely, a single tissue sample won't necessarily give the full picture. This "targeted therapy" involves "sticking a needle into the primary tumor site and taking a small sliver of a tumor, doing a gene analysis, and creating a genetic profile of the tumor to predict how the tumor will behave," explained Dr. Dan Longo, an oncologist and deputy editor at the New England Journal of Medicine. "What this paper tells us is that is an oversimplification of the complexity of ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Tarceva, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Herceptin, Erlotinib, Trastuzumab

Drug Duo May Help Fight Aggressive Form of Breast Cancer

Posted 17 Jan 2012 by

TUESDAY, Jan. 17 – Combining two drugs that target an aggressive type of breast cancer known as HER2-positive appears to work better than using either drug alone, researchers report. The dual-drug approach greatly boosted the chances of eliminating microscopic signs of early cancer by the time a woman was due to have surgery, said researcher Dr. Jose Baselga, chief of hematology/oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. The study was published online Jan. 17 in The Lancet. The two drugs are Tykerb (lapatinib) and Herceptin (trastuzumab). Using both together resulted in a 51 percent response, compared with a 30 percent response in women given Herceptin alone. Those given Tykerb alone had a 25 percent response. "What we observed was a massive improvement in response," Baselga said. GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Tykerb, ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Herceptin, Tykerb, Lapatinib, Trastuzumab

Genetic Profiling Adds New Dimension to Breast Cancer Treatment

Posted 14 Oct 2011 by

FRIDAY, Oct. 14 – Treatment for breast cancer has advanced in recent years by becoming more and more personalized. Not personalized to the patient, mind you, but to the particular tumors and cancer cells inside that patient. New tests are allowing doctors to figure out what genetic or biological factors are driving each individual woman's type of cancer, and new therapies are being targeted to directly attack those specific factors. "When it comes to treating breast cancer, we used to throw the book at everyone," said Dr. Christy A. Russell, a board member of the American Cancer Society's California division and an associate professor at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. "Now it's much more targeted." That's a message worth sharing during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The same five treatment options are still available to women with breast cancer: ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Herceptin, Trastuzumab

Drug Combo Might Fight Aggressive Breast Cancer More Safely

Posted 5 Oct 2011 by

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 5 – Treating women with an aggressive form of early stage breast cancer using Herceptin and chemotherapy, while not turning to a third type of drug known as an anthracycline, improves survival while posing less danger to the heart, researchers report. They tested three different regimens, one of which did not include any anthracyclines. When Herceptin is given with doxorubicin (Adriamycin), an anthracycline, toxic cardiac effects have been seen. "What the study shows is you have comparable effectiveness in a Herceptin-based regimen when you don't use the anthracyclines," said Dr. Dennis Slamon, director of clinical and translational research at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. Earlier research of his led to the development of Herceptin (trastuzumab). He contends that the new regimen should be the new standard of care, ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Herceptin, Carboplatin, Taxotere, Adriamycin, Doxorubicin, Docetaxel, Carboplatin Novaplus, Paraplatin, Adriamycin RDF, Docefrez, Adriamycin PFS

Cancer Patients Should Ask Doctors to Use Simple Terms

Posted 28 Sep 2011 by

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 28 – Cancer patients are often faced with many difficult-to-understand treatment choices that can have serious side effects and even mean the difference between life and death. That's why it's crucial that patients insist doctors use plain language in explaining the options, advised Angela Fagerlin, an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and a researcher at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center. "People are making life and death decisions that may affect their survival and they need to know what they're getting themselves into. Cancer treatments and tests can be serious. Patients need to know what kind of side effects they might experience as a result of the treatment they undergo," Fagerlin said in a university news release. She and her colleagues outlined a number of tips to help patients get the information they need ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Provera, Methotrexate, Breast Cancer, Depo-Provera, Lupron, Accutane, Prostate Cancer, Tamoxifen, Medroxyprogesterone, Arimidex, Lupron Depot, Femara, Gleevec, Fluorouracil, Renal Cell Carcinoma, Claravis, Lung Cancer, Zoladex, Tretinoin

Breast Cancer Drug Raises Risk of Heart Problems in Older Women: Study

Posted 10 Aug 2011 by

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 10 – The breast cancer drug Herceptin increases the risk of heart problems in elderly patients, especially those with a history of heart disease and/or diabetes, a new study says. Researchers analyzed the medical records of 45 women, ages 70 to 92, who were treated with Herceptin (trastuzumab) since 2005 and found that 12 (26.7 percent) of them developed heart problems caused by the drug. That rate is slightly higher than what was noted in earlier clinical trials of younger, healthier women. In this new study, 33 percent of the women with a history of heart disease developed either asymptomatic or symptomatic heart problems as a result of taking Herceptin, compared with 9.1 percent of women without a history of heart disease. The researchers also found that about 33 percent of women with diabetes developed heart problems, compared with 6 percent of diabetes-free women. ... Read more

Related support groups: Diabetes, Type 2, Heart Disease, Breast Cancer, Herceptin

FDA Approves Test That Spots HER2-Positive Breast Cancers

Posted 14 Jun 2011 by

TUESDAY, June 14 – A new genetic test that helps determine if breast cancer patients are good candidates for treatment with the drug Herceptin was approved Tuesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. About 20 percent of breast cancers are HER2-positive, and respond well to Herceptin (trastuzumab). The new Inform Dual ISH test reveals the number of copies of the HER2 gene in tumor tissue. "When used with other clinical information and laboratory tests, this test can provide health-care professionals with additional insight on treatment decisions for patients with breast cancer," Alberto Gutierrez, director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostic Device Evaluation and Safety in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in an agency news release. The FDA's approval of the test was based on a U.S. study that included tumor samples from 510 breast cancer patients. The ... Read more

Related support groups: Herceptin

New Test Helps Evaluate Breast Cancer Patients for Herceptin Use

Posted 14 Jun 2011 by

TUESDAY, June 14 – A genetic test to help doctors evaluate whether women with breast cancer are candidates for treatment with the drug Herceptin (trastuzumab) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Inform Dual ISH test measures whether there are excessive copies of the HER2 gene in breast tumor tissue. HER2-positive breast cancer is a fast-growing, aggressive form of the disease, making up about 20 percent of all breast cancer cases, the FDA said in a news release. Women with an above-normal number of copies of the HER2 gene are candidates for Herceptin therapy. Clinical studies involving 510 women with breast cancer showed the new test was 96 percent accurate in identifying HER2-positive tumor samples, the agency said. The test correctly identified HER2-negative tumors in 92.3 percent of cases. Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Herceptin

Herceptin May Boost Long-Term Survival After Aggressive Breast Cancer

Posted 25 Feb 2011 by

THURSDAY, Feb. 24 – The cancer drug Herceptin produces significantly longer disease-free survival in women with an aggressive type of early-stage breast cancer who take the drug for a year after standard chemotherapy, a new study suggests. After analyzing more than 5,000 women from 39 countries between December 2001 and June 2005, Herceptin appeared to reduce the likelihood of a cancer recurrence by 24 percent, the Italian researchers said. Herceptin (trastuzumab) is a monoclonal antibody that suppresses the HER2/neu protein, which fuels 20 percent to 30 percent of breast cancers. These so-called HER2-positive cancers tend to be aggressive and fast-growing. "We were inclined to consider the possibility that long-term exposure to trastuzumab deserved a proper test and might be useful," said study author Dr. Luca Gianni, a researcher at Fondazione San Raffaele in Milan. But while ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Herceptin

FDA Approves Herceptin For HER2-Positive Metastatic Stomach Cancer

Posted 20 Oct 2010 by

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct 20, 2010 - Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Herceptin (trastuzumab) in combination with chemotherapy (cisplatin plus either capecitabine or 5-fluorouracil [5-FU]) for HER2-positive metastatic (cancer that has spread) cancer of the stomach or gastroesophageal junction, in men and women who have not received prior medicines for their metastatic disease. People diagnosed with metastatic stomach cancer should have the HER2 status of their tumors determined with FDA-approved diagnostic tests, as only people with HER2-positive disease are eligible for treatment with Herceptin plus chemotherapy. "Since Herceptin's approval in HER2-positive advanced breast cancer more than a decade ago, we have continued to study how the HER2 pathway contributes to the growth and ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Herceptin, Gastric Cancer, Trastuzumab

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