Ruth O’Regan, MD, division head, Hematology and Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, discusses the impact of targeted agents in HER2-positive breast cancer.
Ruth O’Regan, MD, division head, Hematology and Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, discusses the impact of targeted agents in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.
Chemotherapy still plays an important role in this subset of patients with breast cancer, but the HER2-targeted agents trastuzumab (Herceptin) and pertuzumab (Perjeta) have transformed the field, says O’Regan. HER2-positive breast cancer is an aggressive disease with a very high risk of recurrence, but new treatment strategies are curing some patients. New agents have completely changed the biology of the disease, she adds.
One of the biggest unanswered questions for physicians working in HER2-positive disease, says O’Regan, is figuring out how to administer less treatment in the adjuvant setting, while still providing the same clinical benefit to patients.
Targeted agents have markedly improved outcomes in this patient population, she adds. In the metastatic setting, the median survival for these patients is currently around 5 years. Until trastuzumab and pertuzumab came to the forefront of treatment, survival for patients with metastatic disease was less than 1 year.