Dr. Swain on the Impact of Chemotherapy on Outcomes in HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer

Sandra M. Swain, MD
Published: Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014

Sandra M. Swain, MD, Medical Director of the Washington Cancer Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, discusses a taxane’s impact on outcomes in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.

Preclinical data published by Dennis Slamon, MD, PhD, years ago showed synergy of the chemotherapy with a HER2-targeted therapy. Swain says chemotherapy is somewhat important overall and is certainly important in a significant number of patients. Questions still remain regarding which patients actually need that chemotherapy and which do not.

Swain cites a neoadjuvant study that showed that patients who did not receive chemotherapy experienced an adequate pathologic complete response rate, though it was not as high as those who did receive chemotherapy. Swain recommends including chemotherapy in any patient’s treatment regimen, unless he/she refuses.

Sandra M. Swain, MD, Medical Director of the Washington Cancer Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, discusses a taxane’s impact on outcomes in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.

Preclinical data published by Dennis Slamon, MD, PhD, years ago showed synergy of the chemotherapy with a HER2-targeted therapy. Swain says chemotherapy is somewhat important overall and is certainly important in a significant number of patients. Questions still remain regarding which patients actually need that chemotherapy and which do not.

Swain cites a neoadjuvant study that showed that patients who did not receive chemotherapy experienced an adequate pathologic complete response rate, though it was not as high as those who did receive chemotherapy. Swain recommends including chemotherapy in any patient’s treatment regimen, unless he/she refuses.


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