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breast cancer treatment clinical trials for breast cancer
  • GW572016 for Treatment of Refractory Metastatic Breast Cancer
  • Paclitaxel With or Without GW572016 as First Line Therapy for Women With Advanced or Metastatic Breast Cancer
  • Study Comparing GW572016 and Letrozole Versus Letrozole in Subjects With Advanced or Metastatic Breast Cancer
  • Capecitabine (Xeloda) With Or Without GW572016 For Women With Refractory Advanced or Metastatic Breast Cancer
  • GW572016, An Oral Drug For Women With Refractory Metastatic Breast Cancer After First-line Or Second-line Herceptin

    Herceptin ®/Taxol ® Effective for Advanced Breast Cancer Recurring After Anthracyclines and Taxanes

    Letrozole May Cut Risk of Breast Cancer
    Tesmilifene in Addition to Doxorubicin Improves Survival in Advanced Breast Cancer
    Doxil ® Plus Gemzar ® Active in Metastatic Breast Cancer
    Brachytherapy May Be Just As Effective and More Convenient than Whole Breast Radiation for Breast Cancer

    According to a recent article published in the British Journal of Cancer, the treatment combination consisting of Herceptin ® (trastuzumab) and paclitaxel (Taxol ®) appears to be effective in the treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer that has stopped responding to treatment with anthracyclines and taxanes. 1

    Metastatic breast cancer refers to cancer that has spread outside the breast to distant and/or several sits in the body. Chemotherapy remains the main component of treatment for metastatic breast cancer. Chemotherapy agents referred to as anthracyclines (doxorubicin, epirubicin, liposomal doxorubicin) and taxanes (Taxotere ®, paclitaxel) remain among the most active agents in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. However, patients often experience a cancer recurrence of continued growth following treatment with anthracyclines and/or taxanes. Researchers continue to evaluate different treatment combinations for women who have stopped responding to anthracycline and/or taxanes therapy, as many chemotherapy agents exist that provide anti-cancer activity in this group of patients.

    HER2-positive breast cancer refers to a specific type of breast cancer in which the cancer cells display an overabundance of small proteins on their outer surface called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 protein (HER2). HER2 proteins bind with other specific proteins which stimulates cancer cells to replicate and grow in an uncontrolled manner. Herceptin ® is the first monoclonal antibody that has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of breast cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are proteins that can be made in the laboratory and are designed to recognize and bind to very specific sites on a cell. Herceptin ® is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the HER2 protein. This binding action is thought to achieve anti-cancer benefits through two distinct processes. First, the binding of Herceptin ® blocks other proteins from binding to HER2, thereby eliminating the stimulating effects on cancer cells. Second, the binding action of Herceptin ® appears to stimulate the immune system to attack and kill the cancer cells to which Herceptin ® is bound. Results have demonstrated that treatment with Herceptin ® plus chemotherapy improves outcomes compared with chemotherapy alone in patients with HER2-positive advanced breast cancer. 2

    Researchers from Italy recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate the treatment combination of Herceptin ® plus paclitaxel in women with metastatic breast cancer that has stopped responding to anthracycline and taxanes therapy. This trial involved 25 patients who were HER2-positive. A complete disappearance of cancer was achieved in 16% of patients, a partial disappearance of cancer was achieved in 40% of patients, and disease stabilization was achieved in 16% of patients. The average duration of response to Herceptin ®/paclitaxel was over 10 months.

    The researchers concluded that the combination of Herceptin ® and paclitaxel appears to be an effective treatment option for women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer that has stopped responding to anthracyclines and taxanes. However, there appears to be a trend for physicians to treat patients with combinations including Herceptin ® and chemotherapy as initial therapy for HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. Patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer that has stopped responding to anthracyclines and taxanes may wish to speak with their physician about the risks and benefits of Herceptin ® and paclitaxel or the participation in a clinical trial evaluating other novel treatment approaches. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute ( and Personalized clinical trial searches are also performed on behalf of patients by


    1. Gori S, Colozza M, Mosconi AM, et al. Phase II Study of weekly Paclitaxel and Trastuzumab in Anthracycline-and Taxane-Pretreated Patients with HER2 Overexpressing Metastatic Breast Cancer. British Journal of Cancer. 2004;90:36-40.

    2. Slamon DJ, Leyland-Jones B, et al. Use of chemotherapy plus a monoclonal antibody against HER2 for metastatic breast cancer that overexpresses HER2. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2001;344:783-92.


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