Effects of HerceptinSeveral studies have looked at the effects of this drug for breast cancer treatment or stomach cancer treatment.
One study looked at Herceptin for the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer. Adjuvant therapy for breast cancer is treatment that follows breast cancer surgery (with or without radiation). It is given to help prevent the cancer from returning. These studies compared chemotherapy alone to chemotherapy plus Herceptin for breast cancers that were HER2-positive. The chemotherapy regimen included doxorubicin (Adriamycin®, Rubex®), cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®), and paclitaxel (Onxol®, Taxol®). After 3.5 years, 93 percent of people who had taken chemotherapy plus Herceptin had survived cancer-free, compared to 86 percent of those who took chemotherapy alone.
Another study looked at using it in combination with chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancers (breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) that were HER2-positive. When Herceptin and chemotherapy were combined in these cases, the tumors shrunk more than when chemotherapy was used alone. Also, those taking it with chemotherapy lived longer and had a delay in the worsening of their cancer, compared to those who took chemotherapy alone.
One study compared a regimen of Herceptin plus chemotherapy (cisplatin and a fluoropyrimidine medication) compared to just the chemotherapy alone for the treatment of metastatic gastric cancers (stomach cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) that were HER2-positive. Adding Herceptin decreased the chance of death (56 percent of people taking Herceptin plus chemotherapy died, compared with 62.2 percent of those taking chemotherapy alone) and extended the average survival time from 11 months for chemotherapy alone to 13.5 months with chemotherapy plus Herceptin.