Dr. Chung recalls the medications breast cancer patients take most often.
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Common Medication for Breast Cancer Patients So in the last decade, there have been new drugs that have been developed specifically to target certain types of breast cancer and have really resulted in improving the survival of these types of cancers. One of which is Herceptin. This drug targets woman who have breast tumors at over expressed HER2/nue, which is a type of marker that all breast cancers have, but this specific tumor over expresses as marker. So Herceptin is a monoclonal antibody that blocks this receptor. And by using the specific antibody or blocker, it targets that marker that’s being over expressed to kill the cancer. And this type of cancer specifically has much worse survival than any of the other types of breast cancer out there. Since this drug has come out in clinical trials, it has shown to reduce the risk of reoccurrence by 50%. So it really has resulted in improving the disease-free survival for women with these types of cancers. The HER2/nue types of cancers do have different ways of over expressing the HER2. So Herceptin blocks it in one mechanism. Another drug that has been developed is Lapatinib or Tykerb -- is the commercial name and it also attacks this type of breast cancer but through a different mechanism. So now, there are studies that are currently ongoing, looking at combining the two drugs in some fashion, either giving one drug followed by another drug or giving them at the same time, or comparing one drug to the other to see. Well, if we attack this cancer with two different mechanisms is it going to result in an even better outcome than what we currently have? So it’s very exciting and this is some of the research that we are also involved in at the John Wayne -- specifically looking at these types of drugs and HER2/nue positive cancers.