A cancer drug duo could one day eliminate the need for chemotherapy for women with HER2-positive breast cancer; in a new study, a combination of two drugs was found to completely eradicate or significantly shrink breast cancer tumors within 11 days of diagnosis.

Women with HER2-positive breast cancer saw a complete eradication or significant reduction in tumors when treated with both trastuzumab and lapatinib.


After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the US. It is estimated that 1 in 8 American women will be diagnosed with an invasive form of the disease at some point in their lives.

According to the American Cancer Society, around 1 in 5 breast cancers are human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive, or HER2-positive. This means the cancer tumors have too many copies of the HER2 gene, resulting in excess production of the HER2 protein.

Compared with other breast cancers, HER2-positive breast cancers tend to spread faster and more aggressively, and patients with this type of cancer are more likely to experience recurrence following treatment.

Current treatments for HER2-positive breast cancer include surgery,chemotherapy and hormone therapy. There are also drugs available that target and block the HER2 receptors on breast cancer cells, such as trastuzumab (brand name Herceptin), which is the most common medication for HER2-positive breast cancer.

Prevention as we know is better than cure. As a woman, routine examination of the breast herself is important. If any mass or abnormal development is seen, please see a doctor.

REFERENCE: Lead researcher Prof. Judith Bliss, of the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in the UK.



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