University of Nottingham | May 2019 | Drugs for invasive breast cancer ‘could treat earliest stages of the disease’
Experts from the University of Nottingham’s School of Medicine have undertaken research that has found drugs used to target HER2-positive invasive breast cancer may also be successful in treating women in the first stages of the disease.
The HER2 gene is already closely associated with aggressive, invasive breast cancer and is already treated using the drug trastuzumab, more commonly known as Herceptin.
The Nottingham study looked at breast tissue from 776 women treated at Nottingham City Hospital between 1990 and 2012 for DCIS. It also collected information from 239 cases of DCIS and invasive breast cancer for comparison.
Following up on cases between two months and 20 years later, the team found that out of 308 patients treated with breast conserving surgery alone, the disease had reoccurred in 67 people (22 per cent). More than half of those (57 per cent) had gone on to develop aggressive, invasive breast cancer. Among the 93 cases treated with surgery and radiotherapy, the cancer came back in eight patients – two with invasive breast cancer and six with DCIS.
The researchers suggest that screening women with DCIS for HER2 may help to identify those at greater risk of developing more invasive forms of the disease.
Current treatments targeting HER2 could also potentially be extended to DCIS patients to reduce the chance of the cancer spreading and reduce the number of HER2-related deaths (Source: University of Nottingham).
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