Treatment with Trastuzumab

The following recommendations apply to patients with early breast cancer who have a defect in the DNA of a gene known as the HER2 gene. Such a defect, known as a DNA amplification, can induce the growth of cancer cells.

Lymph nodes are small organs that are part of the lymphatic system, a system in the body that transports a type of fluid called lymph throughout the body.

If your tumour has a size of less than 1cm and the cancer has not spread to your lymph nodes, a drug known as trastuzumab can be considered as a treatment, especially if the tumour does not shrink in response to treatment with hormones. Trastuzumab is a drug that acts on breast cancer cells to prevent the mutated HER2 gene from causing growth of cancer cells.

If your tumour has a size of more than 1cm or the cancer has spread to your lymph nodes, it is recommended to treat the cancer with trastuzumab.

It is recommended that treatment using trastuzumab should be given concurrently with a drug known as a taxane that can interfere with the growth of cancer cells.

When being treated with trastuzumab, your heart function should be monitored every 3 months. This is as trastuzumab may have toxic side effects that affect heart function.

When being treated with trastuzumab, it is recommended that this drug be taken for a duration of one year.