Dr. Formenti on Recent Progress With HER2-Targeted Therapy

Silvia Chiara Formenti, MD

Silvia Chiara Formenti, MD, chair, Department of Radiation Oncology, Weill Cornell, associate director, Meyer Cancer Center, radiation oncologist-in-chief, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, discusses the recent progress with HER2-targeted therapy in the treatment of patients with breast cancer.

In the last 5 to 10 years, Formenti says oncologists have learned much more about breast cancer and have reduced the mortality associated with the disease. However, more progress needs to be made. Each year, there has approximately been a 1.5% decrease in the mortality rate in the last 20 to 30 years. Based on subsets of breast cancer, physicians can now give newly diagnosed patients a more comprehensive outlook in terms of prognosis and management. For patients with HER2-positive disease, targeted therapies like trastuzumab (Herceptin) and pertuzumab (Perjeta) have dramatically improved outcomes.

For this reason, a lot of research has been recently focused on triple-negative breast cancer where there is currently no available targets. Chemotherapy has been effective in these patients, but a more personalized targeted therapy would make a difference, Formenti says.
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