ANCHOR LEAD: ARE SOME WOMEN WHO MIGHT BENEFIT FROM BREAST CANCER DRUGS NOT GETTING THEM? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Women with breast cancer are routinely tested for certain genes and receptors on their tumors, and these results help determine treatment. But now some investigators are saying that some women without a receptor called HER2 neu may still benefit from the drug Hercepin. Ben Park, a breast cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, offers his opinion.
PARK: It’s unlikely in my view to actually be a big percentage of breast cancer patients. Just based off historical studies, based on what we know of expression and these tests, and the antibody, it’s still likely to say that the majority of women who get the test to see whether or not they have HER2 neu overexpression or amplification, and if they do are the ones who are going to benefit from the drug, and if they don’t they’re probably not going to benefit from it. And this is very important because this drug is not without side effects and toxicity. :28
Park says for now, women can trust the pretreatment testing. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.