Herceptin Breast Cancer Medicine
Herceptin® (trastuzumab) is commonly prescribed for the treatment of breast cancer and stomach cancer in adults. It belongs to a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies and is designed to bind to HER2, a protein on the outside of certain cancer cells. When Herceptin binds to HER2 receptor proteins, it interferes with the cancer cells' ability to grow and multiply. Herceptin may also serve as a signal to the immune system, which can help destroy the cancer cells.
Although it is a medicine used to treat breast or stomach cancer, Herceptin is not a form of chemotherapy. It is less "toxic" than chemotherapy, as it specifically targets the HER2 receptors. Because Herceptin is only used to treat cancers that have a high concentration of HER2 receptors, it targets the tumors, having less of an effect on healthy, noncancerous cells.
(To learn more about how this medicine works to treat breast cancer, click Herceptin Uses. This article also covers the specific types of breast cancer this drug can treat and offers more details on how it works.)