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This Oncology Podcasting News describes results with Herceptin (trastuzumab; Genentech Oncology) for inflammatory breast cancer patients who are Her2+ and discusses the approval of Ixempra (ixapilone;Bristol Meyers Squib) as a second line chemotherapy in stage IV breast cancer patients whose tumors have become refractory to other forms of chemotherapy. Here’s more information from our companion website, patientresource.net:
HER2 is a specialized protein that is present on the surface of breast cells and breast cancer cells. The gene related to this protein is the HER2/neu gene. A breast cancer is said to be HER2-positive when the protein or copies of the gene is present at high levels. High levels are associated with tumors that grow and spread faster and with an increased likelihood that cancer will recur after treatment. About one in five breast cancers has increased levels of the HER2 protein or gene.
ASCO and the College of American Pathologists (CAP) established a joint clinical practice guideline about HER2 testing, recommending that the HER2 status be determined for all invasive breast cancers; the NCCN also recommends that this testing be done on all invasive breast cancers. Again, ASCO/CAP and the NCCN recommend that testing be done only by approved methods at accredited facilities. You should talk to your doctor about the accuracy of your HER2 results and whether testing should be repeated for verification.