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Mayo Clinic researchers say breast cancer survival improves Herceptin used with chemotherapy
Date:12/12/2009

SAN ANTONIO Using Herceptin with chemotherapy, instead of after, clearly improves treatment of women with HER2+ breast cancer, and should be the new standard of care, says a Mayo Clinic researcher who led what is regarded to be a key clinical trial determining the best use of Herceptin.

Patients using Herceptin and chemotherapy at the same time had a relative 25 percent reduction in the risk of recurrence of cancer or death, compared with women who used Herceptin after chemotherapy, says Edith Perez, M.D., chair, North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG) Breast Committee and a breast cancer researcher at the Mayo Clinic campus in Jacksonville, Fla. She presented the findings of the study at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center-American Association for Cancer Research (CTRC-AACR) 2009 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

These findings may have global implications for women being treated for HER2+ breast cancer, which makes up 20 percent to 25 percent of all cases, Dr. Perez says.

In the United States, for example, Herceptin is approved for use on either a sequential or concurrent treatment schedule with adjuvant chemotherapy (that is, chemotherapy following surgery). In much of the rest of the world, Herceptin is used sequentially, she says.

"The results of this trial have been eagerly awaited in the U.S. and in many nations as this is the only trial developed to define the optimal way to incorporate Herceptin in the context of adjuvant chemotherapy," Dr. Perez says. "The goal was to decrease the risk of cancer recurrence, and we have shown that concurrent use is the best way to achieve that."

"This could mean that up to 10,000 women around the world each year may have a better outcome if Herceptin is used along with chemotherapy. Given that, I believe this study will lead to a global re-evaluation of how Herceptin is us
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Contact: Paul Scotti
scotti.paul@mayo.edu
904-953-2299
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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