Herceptin, also known as trastuzumab, is a drug used to treat HER2 positive breast cancer. Daily RX reported on Oct. 23, 2013, that the SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) database was used to collect data for a study on congestive heart failure in older women who are treated with trastuzumab.
Dr. Mariana Chavez-MacGregor, MD, MSc, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, was the lead physician in this study. She used the SEER database to identify a total of 9,535 women with a median age of 71 for the study. A total of 2,203 women out of the 9,535 in the study received treatment with Herceptin.
Of the women who received treatment with Herceptin, 29.4 percent had some form of congestive heart failure. Only 18 percent of women who did not receive treatment with the drug showed signs of congestive heart failure. Women who underwent weekly treatments had a higher rate of congestive heart failure than those who received treatment once every three weeks.
HER2 breast cancer
Herceptin is used to treat HER2 positive breast cancer. About 25 percent of all breast cancers are HER2 positive. This type of breast cancer spreads rapidly because the cancer cells have too many HER2 receptors and this causes the cells to multiply very quickly. Herceptin stops the cells from receiving the HER2 signals.
Lynda Altman was diagnosed with breast cancer in Nov. 2011. She is passionate about women’s health issues and helping all women get access to accurate healthcare information. Lynda writes a blog called Homeschooling When Mom has Cancer. Get notices when this page is updated by clicking on the subscribe link, by email, or contact Lynda @fusgeyer on Twitter.