The interim results from the international HERA (HERceptin Adjuvant) study provide new hope in the fight against HER2-positive breast cancer, a more aggressive form of the disease affecting approximately 20 30% of women with breast cancer . The HERA study is one of the largest breast cancer trials ever carried out, with more than 5,000 patients in 39 countries. The study allowed the use of a wide range of chemotherapy regimens before treatment with Herceptin, making the results relevant to many parts of the world.
Dr Martine Piccart, lead investigator of the HERA study and Chair of the Breast International Group (BIG), commented, "Breast cancer is a serious and sometimes life-threatening disease, but with appropriate and timely treatment in the early stages, many women can improve their chances of long-term survival. For women with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer, results from the HERA study provide some much needed optimism. The study showed that Herceptin, a drug designed specifically for HER2-positive breast cancer, can remarkably reduce the risk of cancer returning." Dr. Piccart added, "I can't stress enough how crucial it is that all patients' breast tumours are tested appropriately at initial diagnosis, and if patients are HER2-positive, that they have access to Herceptin."
Results from a joint interim analysis of over 3,000 patients from two North American trials provided similar remarkable results for Herceptin in early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer, and were also published in the NEJM today. These data, at a median follow-up of two years, show that Herceptin in combination with a specific chemotherapy regimen provided a 52% reduction
Contact: Harriet Farmer