A new way of administering the drug Herceptin had resulted in a highly successful trial of breast cancer treatment.
Patients with HER-2-positive breast cancer who were slated for lumpectomy (breast-conserving surgery) or mastectomy (breast removal), or are in the early stages of diagnosed breast cancer were treated to the drug Herceptin combined with chemotherapy. While chemotherapy is usually given to such patients after surgery, this time the patients were given the new combination before the surgery.
The study results showed that the treatment is 42% more successful in eliminating tumors than chemotherapy alone. In the in Herceptin-treated patients, the rate of pathological complete remission (pcr), where there is complete disappearance of cancer in breast tissue removed during surgery, was 66.7 percent. With such amazing results obtained before the full clinical trials could be completed, the study was halted and the results are being published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The study results also shows less risk of heart arrests that is often associated with Herceptin treatment done after breast cancer surgery.
The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center of US did the study.