Friday, June 19, 2009

Herceptin May Be Effective Drug for Hormone Negative Breast Cancer

The drug commonly used for Her2-positive breast cancers may actually turn ER-negative status into positive. It’s a two-step process, though, and the research was done on ER-negative, Her2-positive laboratory cells, not on human subjects.  Still, it offers amazing potential and could ultimately provide much-needed therapy for hormone-negative breast cancer, including triple negative.

After being treated with trastuzumab (Herceptin), ER-negative cells actually turned into ER-positive cells, making them then react to anti-estrogen drugs like tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors, according to research presented at the Endocrine Society meeting this month.

The research was done in vitro—in a lab, on existing cells, rather than in human subjects. Cells were ER-negative, Her2-postive and  were treated with  trastuzumab; after 72 hours they were treated with the hormones estradiol  and androstenedione.  After that they were given aromatase inhibitors and antiestrogens.

The tumors then reacted in much the way ER-positive tumors do to aromatase inhibitors and antiestrogens.

Read more about the study here.

SOURCE: Sabnis G, Brodie A "Trastuzumab sensitizes ER negative, HER-2 positive breast cancer cells (SKBr-3) to endocrine therapy" ENDO 2009; Abstract OR38-02.

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