Article Text

Download PDFPDF
What's so special about ▼trastuzumab?
  • Relevant BNF section: 8.1.5


The growth and multiplication of cells are regulated, in part, by polypeptide growth factors that bind to high-affinity receptors typically found on the plasma membrane. One such receptor is human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). In around a quarter of all primary breast cancers, cells possess abnormally high numbers of (overexpress) HER2.1 ▼Trastuzumab (pronounced tra-stoo-zoo-mab; Herceptin - Roche), a recombinant humanised mouse monoclonal antibody directed against HER2, is available as a treatment for certain patients with metastatic breast cancer. It is licensed as a first-line treatment in combination with ▼paclitaxel for those whose cancer cells overexpress HER2 and for whom an anthracycline is unsuitable, and as a third-line treatment used alone when treatment with (where appropriate) an anthracycline, a taxane and hormonal therapy has failed. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended trastuzumab as a treatment option for metastatic breast cancer in accordance with the licensed indications.2 What does trastuzumab offer?

Statistics from

  • Relevant BNF section: 8.1.5

View Full Text


Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.