The drug Herceptin is to be recommended for breast cancer patients, who show positive for Her-2/neu. The presence of Her-2/neu indicates that the patient is positive, and they have a more resistant and active breast cancer, about 30% of breast cancer women are Her-2/neu positive and the treatment for these patients with chemotherapy or anti-estrogen therapy such as Tamoxifen does not show any significant disease reduction. These patients should be given Herceptin drug for treatment.
Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt has already ordered the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the drugs watchdog, to fast track its assessment of the wider use of Herceptin. Herceptin targets a protein called HER2, which appears to be over-abundant in some women's breast cancers. Controversy also is occurring over the usage of Herceptin with some believing that Herceptin treatment is only useful during late stage breast cancer treatment, but campaigners and critics say that the drug is useful for also early stage breast cancer patients. Primary care trusts (PCTs) is currently to fund Herceptin treatment for women with early stage breast cancer, if they so wish, but campaigners say lack of funds and official approval mean that many women who could benefit are being denied the drug.
The Government is considering Her-2/neu testing to all breast cancer patients during their breast cancer surgery, using the tissue sample obtained during the surgery procedure. The company, which makes the drug, Roche, says the application for widening
the use of Herceptin cannot be made any sooner than February because data from independent research has to be evaluated before it can be submitted.
Keywords: Breast cancer, Herceptin, Her-2/neu, treatment, tamoxifen, chemotherapy, anti estrogen therapy, drug, anti-cancer drug, medication, primary care trust, stage of cancer, screening, controversy.