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A 39-year-old member asked:

how long do you have to take herceptin (trastuzumab)?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Devon Webster
Medical Oncology 22 years experience
One year: In the us, the studies of Herceptin (trastuzumab) looked at a full year of treatment for patients with curable breast cancer. Herceptin (trastuzumab) is given every three weeks for 17 doses. But why a year? It was chosen at random. In finland, a similar study gave only 9 weeks of herceptin (trastuzumab)... And patients did just as well! so, a year or less is the best answer. You don't need more!

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A 21-year-old member asked:

What are the risks with herceptin (trastuzumab) therapy?

2 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Devon Webster
Medical Oncology 22 years experience
Heart failure: About 4% of women treated with Herceptin (trastuzumab) develop some weakness in their heart as measured by a muga test. This decrease in heart function is reversible when the drug is stopped. Other side effects of Herceptin (trastuzumab) can include allergic reaction, fatigue, headache and diarrhea. Most of my patients have no side effects!
A 33-year-old member asked:

How exactly does herceptin (trastuzumab) work?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Zadeh
General Surgery 17 years experience
Blocks cell growth: Herceptin (trastuzumab) is a "monoclonal antibody". It is a protein that binds to receptors on breast cancer cells called her-2. Her-2 causes breast cancer cells to grow uncontrollably. When Herceptin (trastuzumab) binds to these cells, it slows their growth. However, not all breast cancer cells contain the her-2 receptors. Patients must be tested for the presence of her-2 receptors before they are started on herceptin (trastuzumab).
A 37-year-old member asked:

What are some common side effects of herceptin (trastuzumab)?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Richard Orr
Surgical Oncology 44 years experience
Flu-like: Most people do pretty well with herceptin, (trastuzumab) especially after the first few doses. Flu-like symptoms are common and you may have issues with your blood counts. Your oncologist will monitor these. Uncommonly, Herceptin (trastuzumab) can lead to diminished heart function or irregular heart beats. Your oncologist will check your heart before treatment and continue to monitor.
A 43-year-old member asked:

What are trastuzumab and herceptin?

3 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Sean Canale
Breast Surgery 30 years experience
Biologic Therapy: Herceptin/trastuzumab is an antibody to a cell surface proteint coded for by the her2neu gene. Its present in some normal cells but in a subset of breast cancers (10-15%) there are multiple copies of the gene producing large amounts of the protein. The herceptin/trastuzumab antibody binds to that protein and reduces that aggressive nature of her2+cancer. It is usually given with chemo.
A 37-year-old member asked:

What should I do if I take too much herceptin (trastuzumab) by mistake?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Scott Mackinnon
Anesthesiology 33 years experience
Overdose is rare: Herceptin (trastuzumab) is what is referred to as a monoclonal antibody that is used to treat some types of cancer(breast, stomach). It is typically administered by IV in a controlled setting so overdose is rare. Although cardiac issues may arise in 2-7% of patients who recieve this, it does not appear to be dose related. An "accidental overdose" has not been shown to be detrimental.

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Last updated Jun 25, 2014

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