Shorter drug treat­ment OK for many breast can­cer pa­tients

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Weather -

NEWYORK » Many women with a com­mon and ag­gres­sive form of breast can­cer that is treated with Her­ceptin can get by with six months of the drug in­stead of the usual 12, greatly re­duc­ing the risk of heart dam­age it some­times can cause, a study sug­gests.

It’s good news, but it comes nearly two decades after the drug first went on the mar­ket and many pa­tients have suf­fered that side ef­fect.

The study was done in the United King­dom and funded by U.K. gov­ern­ment grants. The re­sults were re­leased Wed­nes­day by the Amer­i­can So­ci­ety of Clin­i­cal On­col­ogy and will be pre­sented at the group’s meet­ing next month.

Her­ceptin trans­formed care of a dreaded dis­ease when it was ap­proved in 1998 for women with ad­vanced breast can­cers whose growth is aided by a faulty HER2 gene, as 15-20 per­cent of cases are. It was later ap­proved for treat­ment of those can­cers in ear­lier stages, too.

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