Breast Cancer Herceptin Treatment Shows Impressive Results

Armen Hareyan's picture

Continuing Herceptin treatment prevents breast cancer progression in women with aggressive metastatic breast cancer. Women with HER2-positive breast cancer benefit from nearly three extra months of life without progression.

New data presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting (ASCO) demonstrate that Herceptin helps women with advanced (metastatic) HER2-positive breast cancer live longer without their cancer progressing. The final analysis of the randomized phase III GBG-26 study showed that Herceptin continued to work in women who needed additional treatment after their cancer progressed during previous Herceptin treatment.

Herceptin and Breast Cancer Treatment

  • Herceptin plus Xeloda prolonged survival without progression of the cancer by nearly 3 months compared to chemotherapy alone (Time to progression from 5.6 to 8.2 months).

  • In addition, continuation of Herceptin nearly doubled the percentage of patients responding to treatment from 27.0% to 48.0%.

GBG26 is the first randomized phase III study conducted in women with HER2-positive breast cancer that require additional treatment for their advanced disease and have received Herceptin as part of their initial therapy. The study reinforces that Herceptin works across all stages of the disease and confirms its position as the foundation of care for HER2-positive breast cancer.


"It is rewarding to see that trastuzumab keeps working in women whose aggressive HER2-positive breast cancer progresses" said lead investigator Prof. von Minckwitz, University Women's Hospital, Frankfurt, Germany and Managing Director of the German Breast Group. "The GBG-26 study results confirm that trastuzumab continues to target and shrink the cancer even beyond progression when combined with another chemotherapy."

Unfortunately, in the majority of women with advanced breast cancer the disease continues to spread after initial treatment and patients are likely to receive several subsequent courses (or lines) and types of therapy. However, advanced breast cancer still remains essentially an incurable disease. The GBG26 study therefore addressed a very important question - do patients whose disease has progressed receive benefit from Herceptin when given it again?

"The GBG-26 study adds to the existing strong evidence that Herceptin extends survival throughout all stages of HER2-positive breast cancer." commented William M. Burns, CEO of Roche's Pharmaceuticals Division, Basel, Switzerland "These results provide new hope for women whose breast cancer is difficult to treat."

There is mounting evidence including the GBG-26 study confirming that Herceptin is the foundation of care for women with HER2-positive breast cancer. Herceptin works by activating the body's own immune system to target and destroy the tumour, as well as by suppressing HER2.

GBG-26 is a randomized phase III trial looking at Herceptin treatment in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer requiring a subsequent line of treatment.

Women with HER2-positive locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer who had previously received Herceptin with or without chemotherapy as first line treatment were randomly assigned to receive Herceptin (6 mg/kg body weight every 3 weeks) with Xeloda (2500 mg/m