Who is Herceptin for?
Adjuvant Breast Cancer
Herceptin is approved for the treatment of early-stage breast cancer that is Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2-positive (HER2+) and has spread into the lymph nodes, or is HER2+ and has not spread into the lymph nodes. If it has not spread into the lymph nodes, the cancer needs to be estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor (ER/PR)-negative or have one high risk feature.* Herceptin can be used in several different ways:
- As part of a treatment course including the chemotherapy drugs Adriamycin® (doxorubicin), Cytoxan® (cyclophosphamide), and either Taxol®(paclitaxel) or Taxotere® (docetaxel). This treatment course is known as "AC-->TH"
- With the chemotherapy drugs Taxotere and Paraplatin® (carboplatin). This treatment course is known as "TCH"
- Alone after treatment with multiple other therapies, including an anthracycline (Adriamycin)-based therapy (a type of chemotherapy)
*High risk is defined as ER/PR-positive with one of the following features: tumor size >2 cm, age <35 years, or tumor grade 2 or 3.
Adriamycin is a registered trademark of Pharmacia Inc.
Cytoxan, Taxol, and Paraplatin are registered trademarks of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
Taxotere is a registered trademark of sanofi-aventis U.S. LLC.
Metastatic Breast Cancer
Herceptin has 2 approved uses in metastatic breast cancer:
- Herceptin in combination with the chemotherapy drug Taxol® (paclitaxel) is approved for the first line treatment of Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2-positive (HER2+) metastatic breast cancer
- Herceptin alone is approved for the treatment of HER2+ breast cancer in patients who have received one or more chemotherapy courses for metastatic disease
Taxol is a registered trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
Herceptin is approved, in combination with chemotherapy (cisplatin and either capecitabine or 5-fluorouracil), for the treatment of HER2+ metastatic cancer of the stomach or gastroesophageal junction (where the esophagus meets the stomach) in patients who have not received prior treatment for their metastatic disease.
What possible Serious Side Effects and Additional Important Safety Information should I know about Herceptin?
- Herceptin treatment can result in heart problems, including those without symptoms (such as reduced heart function) and those with symptoms (such as congestive heart failure). The risk and seriousness of these heart problems were highest in people who received both Herceptin and a certain type of chemotherapy (anthracycline). One patient died in an adjuvant (early) breast cancer trial of significantly weakened heart muscle.
- Your doctor will evaluate your heart function before and during treatment. For adjuvant breast cancer therapy, your doctor will also evaluate heart function after the end of treatment. Your doctor will stop Herceptin therapy if you have serious weakening of the heart muscle or changes in the heart muscle structure.
- Some patients have had serious infusion reactions and lung problems; infusion reactions leading to death have been reported. Your doctor may have you completely stop Herceptin treatment if you have a severe allergic reaction, swelling, lung problems, swelling of the lungs, or severe shortness of breath.
- Herceptin can cause harm to the fetus (unborn baby), in some cases death to the fetus, when taken by a pregnant woman.
- Worsening of low white blood cell counts associated with chemotherapy has also occurred.
- You must have a HER2 test to determine if your cancer is HER2-positive before taking Herceptin.
- The most common side effects associated with Herceptin in patients with breast cancer are fever, nausea, vomiting, infusion reactions, diarrhea, infections, increased cough, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, rash, low white and red blood cell counts, and muscle pain.
- The most common side effects associated with Herceptin in patients with stomach cancer are low white and red blood cell counts, diarrhea, fatigue, swelling of the mouth lining, weight loss, upper respiratory tract infections, fever, low platelet counts, swelling of the mucous membranes, swelling of the nose and throat, and a change in taste.
You may report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. You may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.
Because everyone is different, it is not possible to predict what side effects any one person will have. If you have questions or concerns about side effects, you should talk to your doctor.
Please see the full Prescribing Information, for Serious Side Effects and additional important safety information.