Breast cancer will soon be fought with a combined treatment of hormonal therapy and the drug, Herceptin that has been shown to slow the progress of breast cancer by over half, according to a recent report.
Following these findings a call has been made for the treatment to be made available for even more women with breast cancer.
The study showed that the addition of Herceptin to hormonal therapy kept a control over the cancer for a significantly longer period than hormonal therapy alone in patients whose advanced breast cancer was hormone receptor-positive, as well as HER2-positive.
It was found that the median progression-free survival doubled at 4.8 months for patients who received the combination therapy on comparison with the 2.4 months for patients who received hormonal therapy.
In addition it was found that another 15 per cent of high-risk patients treated with the combination therapy showed no progress of disease for at least two years. The results from the study have been presented at a meeting of the European Society for Medical Oncology.
According to experts the study demonstrated that Herceptin should be considered the essential component in the treatment of all HER2-positive breast cancers.
It has been estimated that HER2-positive breast cancer affects up to 30 per cent of women with the complaint. This is an aggressive form of the disease where special and immediate attention is required because the tumors are fast-growing and there is a higher likelihood of relapse.
So far over 3000 patients with HER2-positive breast cancer in both early and metastatic, stages have been treated with Herceptin in Australia.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme has made the drug available in it.