HER2 as a Promising Target for Breast Cancer Treatment

By March 18, 2016Blog Posts, Pharma Beat

As science and medicine advances, we move closer to the ultimate goal of personalized, tailored treatment. Recent results from the UK EPHOS-B clinical trial, which studied women with newly-diagnosed, operable, HER2 positive breast cancer, may be bringing us closer that reality.

After only 11 days of treatment with the targeted drugs lapatinib and trastuzumab, about 25% of women on the combination treatment saw their tumours shrink significantly (<5mm) or disappear. Both drugs target HER2, a protein that promotes the growth of cancer cells. Approximately 20% of breast cancers are HER2 positive and tend to grow more quickly than HER2 negative cancers. Although this is a small, short-term study, the results are regarded as ‘astonishing’ and ‘game changing’, as these findings could translate to fewer patients requiring chemotherapy. These findings will need to be confirmed in long-term studies, but provide an exciting foundation for the future of targeted breast cancer treatments.