OncoLink

Herceptin for Pre-Menopausal Women

Herceptin for Pre-Menopausal Women


Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I would like to know the reason that Herceptin is not appropriate for breast cancer in premenopausal women?


Answer

Kevin Fox, MD Assistant Director, Clinical Affairs and Associate Professor of Hematology/Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania responds:

Recommending for or against herceptin has nothing to do with the patient age or menopausal status. The recommendations regarding herceptin are based on the biopsy report that specifically evaluates a marker called HER-2/nue. Patients that have over-expression of this marker are candidates for herceptin therapy. It has thus far been used in patients with metastatic breast cancer and high risk locally advanced breast cancer. There are ongoing studies evaluating the best combination of herceptin with chemotherapy and the appropriate timing of administration. The safety and effectiveness of herceptin has not been evaluated in patients as treatment for "early stage" breast cancer. This is part of a current research trial.