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Several studies have looked at the effects of trastuzumab for breast cancer treatment or stomach cancer treatment.
One study looked at the drug for the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer. Adjuvant therapy for breast cancer is treatment that follows breast cancer surgery (with or without radiation). It is given to help prevent the cancer from returning.
These studies compared chemotherapy alone to chemotherapy plus trastuzumab for breast cancers that were HER2-positive. The chemotherapy regimen included doxorubicin (Adriamycin®, Rubex®), cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®), and paclitaxel (Onxol®, Taxol®). After 3.5 years, 93 percent of people who had taken chemotherapy plus trastuzumab had survived cancer-free, compared to 86 percent of those who took chemotherapy alone.
Another study looked at using trastuzumab in combination with chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancers (breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) that were HER2-positive. When trastuzumab and chemotherapy were combined in these cases, the tumors shrunk more than when chemotherapy was used alone. Also, those taking trastuzumab with chemotherapy lived longer and had a delay in the worsening of their cancer, compared to those who took chemotherapy alone.
One study compared a regimen of trastuzumab plus chemotherapy (cisplatin and a fluoropyrimidine medication) compared to just the chemotherapy alone for the treatment of metastatic gastric cancers (stomach cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) that were HER2-positive. Adding trastuzumab decreased the chance of death (56 percent of people taking trastuzumab plus chemotherapy died, compared with 62.2 percent of those taking chemotherapy alone) and extended the average survival time from 11 months for chemotherapy alone to 13.5 months with chemotherapy plus trastuzumab.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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