Two drug trials sponsored by the US Department of Healthand Human Services have determined that the drug trastuzumab(Herceptin) used in combination with chemotherapy can cut therisk of a recurrence of HER-2 breast cancer. The 2 trials includedmore than 3300 women receiving Herceptin along with standardchemotherapy. The results showed a 52% decrease in therecurrence of breast cancer, compared with chemotherapy treatmentalone.
Thirty percent of the estimated 211,240 cases of breast cancerdiagnosed in the United States each year are related to anoverabundance of the HER-2 protein on the surface of the cancercells. These particular tumors have a likelihood of recurringand growing rapidly. National Cancer Institute Director Andrewvon Eschenbach, MD, remarked that the findings of these trialsare "a major advance for many thousands of women with breastcancer."