Herceptin (Trastuzumab) Drug Information
The drug Herceptin® (trastuzumab) is approved for the treatment of certain types of breast cancer and stomach cancer in adults. This prescription medicine is not a type of chemotherapy and is, therefore, not as "toxic" as chemotherapy because it has less of an effect on healthy, noncancerous cells.
Herceptin belongs to a class of medications known as monoclonal antibodies and is designed to bind to a specific protein (called HER2) on the outside of certain cancer cells. When Herceptin binds to these proteins, it prevents the cancer cells from growing and multiplying. This medication can also signal the immune system to destroy the cancer cells.
Herceptin is only used to treat cancers that have a high concentration of HER2 receptors. Not all breast cancers overexpress HER2, and not all people with breast cancer will benefit from Herceptin. This drug is not appropriate for everyone, so your healthcare provider needs complete information on your medical history and current medications. This will help him or her make sure that Herceptin is the right breast cancer or stomach cancer treatment for you.
(Click Herceptin for more information on this drug, including how the active ingredient in it, trastuzumab, works. This article also looks at possible side effects, dosing guidelines, and more.)