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Breast cancer cells have certain characteristics or traits--these traits are called biomarkers. There are three biomarkers that help doctors decide which treatment to give any given patient. These biomarkers are the estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PgR), and HER2 protein. Breast cancer cells that have a large number of estrogen or progesterone receptors are called ER and/or PgR positive. Cancers that are ER and/or PgR positive use the hormones estrogen and progesterone to help them grow. Not all breast cancers are ER or PgR positive. Patients are being asked to take part in this study that have a special type of breast cancer called HER2 positive breast cancer. HER2-positive breast cancer is a breast cancer that tests positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2). HER2 is located on the outer surface of a cancer cell. The HER2 protein sends a signal to the inside of the cancer cells telling it to grow and divide.
There are two medications that directly target this HER2 protein. One medication is called trastuzumab(Herceptin), and the other medication is called lapatinib (Tykerb). Both medications are FDA-approved for the treatment of women with HER2+ breast cancer. Each medication attaches to the protein so that it can no longer function. Once the protein stops working, the cancer cells can no longer make copies of themselves. This makes cancer shrink. Both drugs target HER2; however each drug works a little bit differently.
We have found that some patients respond better to Herceptin, and some patients respond better to Tykerb. Right now, we are not sure why some patients respond to one drug but do not respond to the other drug. One possibility is that in some patients, the HER2 protein finds another way to send its message to the inside of the cell (similar to a road detour). For example, when one path is "closed" because the drug is blocking it, the HER2 protein finds a different way to send its signal. We think that we can completely block the HER2 protein by giving patients both Tykerb and Herceptin.
Some patients with HER positive breast cancer are also ER and/or PgR positive. Even after HER2 is completely blocked, these types of cancer cells can still grow by using the estrogen or progesterone receptor. If a patient is told they are ER and/or PgR positive, they will also take an anti-estrogen pill along with Tykerb and Herceptin. We think that we can stop cancer growth more completely by blocking both the HER2 protein and the ER/PR receptors.
Allocation: Non-Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment
Advanced Breast Cancer
Herceptin / Lapatinib, Letrozole
Baylor College of Medicine Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center
Not yet recruiting
Baylor Breast Care Center
Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:18:28-0400
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