Does Herceptin Help Against Cancer?
Herceptin (aka "Trastuzumab") is a drug containing humanized monoclonal antibodies and affecting the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. Used for the treatment of cancer, which is the presence of H growth factor, E epidermal condition of malignant tissues and P-receptors in combination with 2 human type (HER-2).
As is known, in some types of breast cancer this factor is present on the cell surface of the tumor. Patients with HER-2 positive indicators represent between 15% and 20% of all patients.
Therefore, the drug is recommended for the treatment of patients with breast cancer in both early and late metastatic stages of the disease. Also, "Herceptin"Can be used in combination therapy of stomach cancer.
The drug contains 440 mg of trastuzumab and excipients (histidine, trehalose dihydrate and polysorbate).
Herceptinapproved for the treatment of breast cancer at an early stage, as well as possible spread to the lymph nodes (HER2 +) or without metastasizing into the lymphatic system (HER 2-).
The dosage of the drug depends on the oncological stage and is calculated depending on the weight of the patient. This antitumor drug for adjuvant therapy of breast cancer can be administered:
- once a week as a loading dose (4 mg / kg);
- long-term treatment - 2 mg / kg;
The duration of Herceptin administration is 12 weeks with paclitaxel or docetaxel or 18 weeks with docetaxel / carboplatin.
Post-therapy: a week after the last dose, it is recommended to administer 6 mg / kg. And so every 3 weeks. In total, the application should last 52 weeks.
Another option becomes:
- the initial loading dose is 8 mg / kg. Long-term treatment - 6 mg / kg every 3 weeks for a total of 17 doses (52 weeks).
At this time, the drug "Herceptin" is available in 150 mg-bottles and 440 mg.
Treatment of cancer "Herceptin"
Herceptincan be used in several different ways:
- As part of the course of treatment, including chemotherapy drugs such as Doxorubicin, Cyclophosphamide, Paclitaxel and / or Docetaxel. This course is known as "AC-TH".
- With docetaxel and carboplatinum. This course is called "TSN".
Herceptin is approved for the treatment of metastatic stomach cancer in patients who have not previously received cytotoxic drugs. Oncopherapy is recommended to be used in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents (cisplatin and / or capecitabine or 5-fluorouracil).
The initial dose is 8 mg / kg. Post-therapy - 6 mg / kg every 3 weeks.
The use of "Herceptin" in cancer
Patients at an early stage of the disease for the best therapeutic effect should remain on Herceptin for one year, not six months or two years.
To be eligible for treatment with Trastuzumab, patients with a positive human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 breast cancer, should be provided with:
- Immunological evidence of HER-2 protein 3+ levels.
- Laboratory studies of patients who have HER-2 protein 2+ levels with amplification of the gene by hybridization.
Also, metastatic breast cancer can be treated as follows:
- in combination with taxanes for patients who did not receive chemotherapy;
- as a monotherapy for the treatment of patients who used chemotherapy for one course or more.
Tests have shown that Herceptin in cancer increases overall survival.
The doctor of medicine, the chief medical director of the manufacturer of Herceptin, Rosh, notes that "Herceptin" has changed the lives of many people with the initial breast cancer of the HER2-positive factor.
However, patients' reviews are not always so joyful. For example, one of the patients (45 years old, the course of Herceptin 6 months), notes that the breast tumor did not decrease, as the doctors promised. Therefore, the use of the drug, in its opinion, in comparison with the harm, is not so great.
Another patient (45 years old, a course of taking 52 weeks) accentuates that Herceptin had a positive effect on the tumor, but because of the side effects it was necessary to abandon the subsequent treatment.
A similar review about the drug was left by a 64-year-old patient who notes such side effects as joint pain, inability to move legs well and problems with the eyes.
The cost of the drug in Russia and Ukraine is much lower than in the EU countries, as well as the United States and Britain.
For example, in Russia and Ukraine, a 150 mg vial costs 500-600 cu, and 440 mg of a vial costs 1000-1200 cu. Thus, 150 mg-vial, on average, is enough for 20-30 injections, and 440 mg for 70-90 injections.
While in the EU countries, one year of Herceptin treatment costs 70000 USD. In Australia - 5, 00 USD. However, in the UK, this drug is fully paid to patients by the health service. But still, compared to other countries, the same can be said about Russia or Ukraine, if we take into account the cost price of Herceptin.
- heart problems such as blood stasis or heart failure. This is the most serious problem that can arise on the basis of the reception of Herceptin. Therefore, the doctor must check the presence of cardiac diseases before starting treatment;
- Herceptin should not be taken by pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant;
- infusion reactions (abdominal pain, nausea, fever, shortness of breath, dizziness, swelling of the mucous membrane of the throat, nose, or mouth);
- Other complications (severe shortness of breath, fluid in the lungs, lack of oxygen, swelling or scarring on the lungs);
- a low level of white or red blood cells, which is very dangerous to the health of patients;
- a decrease in the number of platelets in the blood.
All patients who plan to take "Herceptin"with cancer should be notified of possible side effects..