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Study Shows Dual Targeting of HER2 and HR-positive Metastatic Breast Cancer Improves Survival Rates

Durham, NC (PRWEB) May 07, 2013

A new study published in The Oncologist shows targeting both hormone receptors (HRs) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) in first-line treatment of metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients significantly increased overall survival times.

A team of researchers lead by Debu Tripathy, M.D., of the University of Southern California (USC) Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles, CA, looked at data provided by RegistHER, a prospective, observational study of 1,023 newly diagnosed HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer MBC patients. They found that hormonal therapy given with the anti-HER2 antibody trastuzumab (Herceptin) and chemotherapy is associated with improved survival and progression-free survival outcomes, compared to no hormonal therapy.

“This study can aid in significantly improving treatment planning and shared decision-making with patients,” said Dr. Tripathy. “It provides a platform for considering hormonal therapy as a standard component of treatment regimens for patients with HER2-positive and hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer.”

Using data from RegistHER, a multicenter, prospective cohort registry study, the research team determined that the targeting of both hormone and HER2 receptors is associated with better outcomes compared to HER2-based therapy alone. HER2-positive breast cancer, which accounts for approximately 25% of breast cancers diagnosed, tends to be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer because it promotes the growth of cancer cells. About half of HER2-positive breast cancer are also estrogen receptor-positive. Trastuzumab specifically targets HER2 cells and is the standard of care for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, while HR-positive breast cancer is treated with hormonal therapy designed to interfere with HR signaling.

A lack of uniformity in how hormone therapy is used in treating HER2-positive breast cancer complicates the registry study analysis, but adjustments showed consistent improved progression-free survival times and even overall survival rates, with the addition of hormone therapy to either trastuzumab alone or with chemotherapy.

“This report, although not based on a randomized study, strongly suggests that hormonal therapy is an integral part of the treatment of women with hormone receptor positive, HER-2 positive breast cancer. Randomized designs examining the optimal order of such therapy could add further information to these important data,” said Kathleen I. Pritchard, M.D., FRCPC, Co-Director of the Ontario Clinical Oncology Group (OCOG) at McMaster University and Breast Cancer Section Co-editor for The Oncologist.


The full article, titled “First-Line Treatment Patterns and Clinical Outcomes in Patients With HER2-Positive and HormoneReceptor-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer From RegistHER,” can be accessed at

About The Oncologist
Established by oncologists to help physicians better manage their practices in an ever-changing environment, The Oncologist® is the official journal of the Society for Translational Oncology (STO). Now in its 18th year, this internationally peer-reviewed journal focuses on clear and concise interpretation addressing the multimodality diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life of the cancer patient. Each issue is meant to impact the practice of oncology and to facilitate significant communication in the introduction of new medical treatments and technologies. For more information, visit

About AlphaMed Press: Established in 1983, AlphaMed Press, with offices in Durham, NC, San Francisco, CA, and Belfast, Northern Ireland, publishes three internationally renowned peer-reviewed journals with globally recognized editorial boards dedicated to advancing knowledge and education in their focused disciplines. STEM CELLS® (, which celebrated its 31st year in 2013, is the world's first journal devoted to this fast paced field of research. THE ONCOLOGIST® (, entering its 18th year, is devoted to community and hospital-based oncologists and physicians entrusted with cancer patient care. STEM CELLS TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE® (, in its second year, is dedicated to significantly advancing the clinical utilization of stem cell molecular and cellular biology. By bridging stem cell research and clinical trials, SCTM will help move applications of these critical investigations closer to accepted best practices.

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