Herceptin Effective In Breast Cancer Cells With Low HER-2 Levels

Armen Hareyan's picture

Breast Cancer Treatment and Herceptin

Northwestern University researchers have discovered that the monoclonal antibody Herceptin (trastuzumab) used in combination with certain cancer chemotherapies effectively treats breast cancer tumors that produce low or undetectable amounts of the HER-2 oncogene but overexpress the growth factor heregulin (HRG), an activator of the HER-2 cancer oncoprotein. Increased levels of HER-2 are associated with poor patient prognosis, enhanced metastasis (cancer spread) and resistance to chemotherapy.

Until now it was believed that trastuzumab combined with cytotoxic drug therapy was effective only in HER-2 - positive, or HER-2 - overexpressing, breast cancer