1 Year of Herceptin Fights Breast Cancer

Posted on October 03 2012

The popular breast cancer fighting drug, Herceptin, recently underwent several new trials to determine its efficacy at half its regular dose, and to determine if a longer usage period would provide additional treatment benefits.  Findings indicate that the current 1-year dosage of Herceptin is just what the doctor ordered for breast cancer patients. Herceptin has been well known for effective treatment properties for women who have breast cancer. This medication is effective in patients with tumors that produce the HER-2 protein that increases the aggressiveness of the breast cancer. Roche, Herceptin’s manufacturer, participated in trials that could have damaged the company financially. In the first trial, Herceptin was tested for treatment effectiveness when taken over a 6-month course, instead of the current suggested 1-year treatment plan. Fortunately for Roche, the trial’s results came back in their favor. All findings reinforced that 1-year, not 6-months, was needed to adequately affect cancer patients. Had the trial found that a 6-month dosage produced the same results as a 1-year dosage, Roche could have lost big financially. A second trial, Herceptin was reviewed to see if further benefits would be provided to the patient had they taken a 2-year dose. The results in this trial indicated that a 2-year dose provided no additional benefits for the patient. This trial could have enhanced Roche’s financial portfolio. The company again failed to come out with a win financially, but gained new knowledge of their product, and didn’t come out as a big financial loser. A third study was also conducted on how Herceptin combined with one of Roche’s new experimental breast cancer treatment drugs  performed with an aggressive, advanced stage of breast cancer. The results indicate that patients lived 5-months longer while on the combination. The trial results will require further study to validate the findings. These results came at the perfect time as October is breast cancer awareness month. With so many patients already experiencing the benefit of Herceptin, company stock already indicates more may be joining this group of patients.  Roche will continue to produce Herceptin, to be prescribed as a 1-year dosage, as it appears it is just what the doctor ordered.   Sources: Wall Street Journal - Reuters - Bloomberg Businessweek -


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