HER2 Receptor Antagonists are a treatment for breast cancer, particularly metastatic breast cancer, which may in conjunction with other cancer treatments or alone. They are monoclonal antibodies to the protein HER2 that work by targeting cancer cells that express HER2, which is found in some cases of breast cancers, as well as stomach cancers. HER2 Receptor Antagonists were developed after the discovery of the association between the HER2 gene and more aggressive cases of breast cancer. These drugs are highly effective in blocking HER2 and are often not as harsh as other forms of cancer therapy because they deal with a targeted therapy, as opposed to chemotherapy, which is a less specific form of treatment.
HER2 Receptor Antagonists Drugs
The following drugs fall under the class of HER2 Receptor Antagonists:
HER2 Receptor Antagonists Uses
These drugs have shown to be effective against tumors that overexpress the Her2-neu protein. One type of drug in this class, Trastuzumab (Herceptin), is given as Intravenous infusion – either weekly or every three weeks as a larger dose, depending on the patient.
The use of targeted therapies – such as HER2 Receptor Antagonists – in metastatic breast cancer has improved prognosis, increased survival and, overall, changed the way breast cancer is treated in a dramatic way. The original studies of the drugs not only showed that they improved overall survival in late-stage HER2-positive breast cancer from 20.3 to 25.1 months but also proved to be very beneficial in early stage HER2-positive breast cancer diagnosis. After surgery in these cases, the risk of the cancer returning after surgery reduced by an absolute risk of 9.5%, while the risk of death was reduced by an absolute of 3%. However, the combination of this class of drugs with chemotherapy has been shown to increase both survival and response rate, in comparison to HER2 Receptor Antagonists alone.
HER2 Receptor Antagonists Side Effects
If you are taking any HER2 Receptor Antagonists and experience any of these symptoms, call your health provider:
- Sore Throat
- Symptoms similar to those of a cold or flu
You may also experience fever, chills or headache during the infusion _ report these side effects to your doctor at the time of said infusion.
Check in with your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Black, tarry stools
- Burning, numbness, tingling or painful sensations
- Fast heartbeat
- Joint pain, stiffness or swelling
- Lower back or side pain
- Painful or difficult urination
- Pale skin
- Rash or redness of the skin
- Swelling of the face, hands, feet, lips or eyelids
- Tightness in the chest
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Ulcers, sores or white spots in the mouth
- Unsteadiness or awkwardness
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Unusual tiredness or weakness, particularly in the hands, legs, feet or arms