Dr. Tripathy on Targeting HER2 in Breast Cancer

Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>USC Norris</b>

Debu Tripathy, MD, co-leader, Women's Cancer Program, University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses targeting HER2 in breast cancer.

Debu Tripathy, MD, co-leader, Women's Cancer Program, University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses targeting HER2 in breast cancer.

In his presentation at the 12th International Congress on the Future of Breast Cancer from July 18-20, 2013, in Huntington Beach, CA, Tripathy said that it is clear that HER2-targeting makes a big difference in the early stage setting.

The only agent that has been tested in this space is the monoclonal antibody trastuzumab, which may have a dual mode of action: blocking signaling that HER2 has with cell growth and recruiting the immune system. Trastuzumab has among the biggest impacts observed in breast cancer, cutting the risk of recurrence in half and risk of death by a third.

Tripathy says that there is no such thing as a "magic bullet," though trastuzumab has a minimal cost of toxicity. It is known that HER2 is in some ways involved in cardiac remodeling, making cardiac toxicity not all that surprising with HER2-targeted therapies. Fortunately, these events are rare and controllable.