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What medications can help treat HER2 positive breast cancer?

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About 1 in 5 people with breast cancer have a faulty gene called HER2 that makes too many copies of itself. This type of breast cancer is usually treated with a human-made antibody, Trastuzumab (Herceptin), that helps stop the cancer cells from growing.

Doctors prescribe trastuzumab (Herceptin) alone or with chemotherapy drugs. Other medications that doctors may try for HER2 positive breast cancer include:

  • Ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla). Doctors may prescribe this to people with advanced breast cancer who haven’t responded to another drug.
  • Lapatinib (Tykerb). It’s combined with chemotherapy advanced cases of HER2 positive breast cancer.
  • Pertuzumab (Perjeta). It may be harmful for unborn babies, so pregnant women shouldn’t take it.
  • Fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki (Enhertu). It's an antibody treatment for women who have had at least two HER2 treatments before and who are no candidates for surgery. 

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society.

News release, FDA.

Novartis Oncology.

UpToDate: "Adjuvant medical therapy for HER2-positive breast cancer."

BreastCancer.org: "What to Expect When Taking Herceptin."

MedlinePlus: "Docetaxel Injection," "Paclitaxel Injection,"Trastuzumab: Drug information," "Pertuzumab: Drug information."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on January 16, 2020

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society.

News release, FDA.

Novartis Oncology.

UpToDate: "Adjuvant medical therapy for HER2-positive breast cancer."

BreastCancer.org: "What to Expect When Taking Herceptin."

MedlinePlus: "Docetaxel Injection," "Paclitaxel Injection,"Trastuzumab: Drug information," "Pertuzumab: Drug information."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on January 16, 2020

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How can ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) help with treating HER2-positive breast cancer?

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