University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center
Last Modified: May 17, 1998
This study analyzed Herceptin, a monoclonal antibody directed against the "HER2/Neu" surface protein on breast cancer cells and interfere with the cells' biological processes, which eventually causes cell death. The researchers recently completed a multinational, controlled, randomized phase III trial involoving 469 patients. The trial tested the efficacy of Herceptin, when used in addition to chemotherapy. The study demonstrated that the addition of Herceptin to standarad chemotherapy increases the amount of time before the disease spreads by approximately three months, and increased the tumor response rates by 23-32%, depending on the chemotherapy regimen used. Side effects were minimal.
"[This study] shows that molecular targeting can effectively fight advanced breast cancer, and that biotherapy can be used to augment current therapy. Theese approaches are showing clinical significance not just in the treatment of breast cancer, but also, perhaps, in early detection and prevention," said Lori J. Goldstein, MD, Director of the Breast Cancer Research Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.