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Efficacy and safety of trastuzumab in early breast cancer

Patients with early breast cancer may have HER2‐positive or ‐negative tumours. HER2‐positive cancers tend to be more aggressive. Knowing whether a cancer has high levels of the HER2 protein (about one in five breast cancers) influences the choice of treatment. Trastuzumab (brand name Herceptin) is a drug specifically available for these patients. The aim of the cancer treatment is to eliminate micrometastases at an early stage (i.e. adjuvant) so that more women survive without recurrence of the disease.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Efficacy and safety of trastuzumab in metastatic breast cancer

Tumours characterised by the presence of the HER2 protein are found in about one in five women with metastatic breast cancer. These tend to be more aggressive and the prognosis and choice of treatment are affected. Trastuzumab (Herceptin®) is a targeted biological drug (a monoclonal antibody) that attaches to the HER2 protein, blocking the growth of malignant cells.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Evaluation of international guidelines: Breast cancer

New developments in breast cancer treatment for women, including a special kind of antibody therapy, could play a role in the upcoming revision of the German disease management programme for breast cancer.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: November 12, 2009

Chemotherapy for advanced gastric cancer

Of all patients with gastric cancer 80% to 90% are either diagnosed at an advanced stage when the tumour is inoperable, or develop a recurrence within five years after surgery. Chemotherapy clearly improves survival in comparison to best supportive care only. In addition, combination chemotherapy further improves survival compared to single‐agent 5‐FU. However, combination chemotherapies have higher rates of adverse effects, and their impact on the patient's quality of life has not been adequately studied. 5‐FU/platinum combinations, with or without an anthracycline, as well as irinotecan and docetaxel‐containing combinations are reasonable current treatment options.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2010

Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive breast cancer.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: November 25, 2014

Male Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of male breast cancer.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: November 25, 2014

Platinum containing regimens for metastatic breast cancer

Chemotherapy containing platinum causes more adverse effects than other options but might not increase survival in women receiving their first treatments for advanced breast cancer. Advanced (metastatic) breast cancer has spread beyond the breast. Treatment usually involves chemotherapy (anti‐cancer drugs) to try to reduce the cancer. Drugs can be used alone or in combination. Cisplatin and carboplatin are chemotherapy drugs containing platinum, which may interact with other treatments. Adverse effects include neutropenia (low white blood cells), vomiting, hair loss, anaemia and kidney damage. The review of trials found that platinum‐containing chemotherapy causes more adverse effects than other options without additional survival benefits for women on their first treatments for advanced breast cancer. One potential exception may be combining platinum drugs with trastuzumab (Herceptin). However, there is no definitive evidence at this time. Trials are underway.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Single agent versus combination chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer

An important consideration for women with advanced disease is the balance between the benefit of treatment and the harms or adverse effects that these treatments may have. Unfortunately only 11 trials in this review reported information relating to quality of life. In general, survival gains with combination therapy came at the cost of a significant increase in toxicity and impact on other psychological and social factors which are known to contribute to a sense of quality of life for this group of women. There were insufficient data in this review to comment on the overall impact of the two treatment options on net clinical benefit from the women's perspective. Women with advanced disease will therefore need to seek the information to allow them to make decisions about the potential benefits of additional treatments (small survival gains) in progressing metastatic disease and the impact this can have on their quality of life.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Breast Cancer Treatment and Pregnancy (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of breast cancer during pregnancy.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: May 23, 2014

Systematic Reviews in PubMed

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