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Herceptin Best for Certain Breast Cancer Patients, Study Says
Drug should remain standard of care for HER2-positive tumors, doctors say

TUESDAY, Sept. 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Herceptin is the best drug treatment for a type of breast cancer called HER2-positive and should remain the standard of care for that type of tumor, according to new findings from a long-term clinical trial.

HER2-positive breast cancers tend to be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic.

For the study, more than 8,300 patients in 44 countries received either Herceptin (trastuzumab) or Tykerb (lapatinib) in addition to standard chemotherapy.

After 4.5 years of follow-up, 14 percent of patients who took Herceptin and 18 percent of those who took Tykerb had at least one disease "event" -- breast cancer recurrence anywhere in the body, a new cancer, or death from any cause.

Heart safety was rated good for both groups of patients. And there was no difference in the rate of cancer spreading from the breast to the brain, study co-chair Dr. Edith Perez, director of the Breast Cancer Translational Genomics Program at the Mayo Clinic in Florida, said in a Mayo news release.

The findings were scheduled for presentation in Madrid, Spain, at the annual meeting of the European Society for Medical Oncology, which concludes Tuesday.

The patients in the study are still being followed.

Data and conclusions presented at meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about breast cancer treatments.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, Sept. 29, 2014

-- Robert Preidt

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