Targeting HER2 in breast cancer: overview of long-term experience
Evan Lantz,1 Ivan Cunningham,1 Gerald M Higa2
1School of Pharmacy, 2Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine and the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA
Abstract: The ability to probe diseases at the genomic level has improved our understanding and enhanced the treatment of breast cancer. One important finding relates to the HER2 oncogene which encodes a novel transmembrane receptor that, when overexpressed, appears to confer growth and survival advantages to breast tumor cells. This fortuitous discovery enabled researchers to develop agents which could inhibit receptor-mediated tumor cell signaling. Numerous clinical trials of such agents have demonstrated improved outcomes in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. Nonetheless, not all tumors respond to therapy targeting the receptor, while relapses occur after an initial response to treatment. This paper provides a historical and current perspective of the treatment of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.
Keywords: adjuvant therapy, ErbB, HER2, lapatinib, metastatic breast cancer, neo-adjuvant therapy
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