Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Herceptin: Long-Term Benefits for Breast Cancer

Study Shows Drug May Still Help Breast Cancer Patients Years After Ending Treatment

Questions Remain About Treatment Timing continued...

Herceptin is expensive, costing around $50,000 or more per year, and it is given by intravenous injection.

“With cost-effectiveness and patient convenience in mind, there is a lot of attention on how long to give this drug,” Perez tells WebMD. “It may be that two years is better than one, but it may also be that three months is better than two years.”

Treatment duration is just one of the unresolved issues surrounding the use of Herceptin in breast cancer.

In the HERA study, patients were treated with the drug following chemotherapy. But in other studies it has been given along with chemotherapy.

Several studies, including one led by Perez, have suggested that concurrent treatment may be most effective. But serious and even life-threatening heart problems have been reported in patients who took the drug with the chemotherapy drug anthracycline.

In an editorial published with the HERA data, a group of European researchers questioned the safety of giving the two drugs together.

In the U.S., Herceptin is usually given during chemotherapy but after anthracycline has been discontinued, Perez says.

She says heart problems have been very rare with this approach and were reversible when they did occur in the vast majority of cases.

“Questions remain about how to use [Herceptin],” she says. “But in terms of the management of patients with breast cancer, this is the most important drug we have seen in the last 15 years in term of changing outcomes.”

Herceptin is marketed by Genentech, which contributed funding for the HERA trial.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow