Herceptin's approval in Europe reflects a growing understanding of the ways in which Herceptin (chemical name: trastuzumab) can be used to treat women with HER2-positive advanced breast cancer. In this case, drug regulators in Europe approved the use of Herceptin in combination with hormonal therapy to treat hormone-receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
Advanced breast cancers that are hormone-receptor-positive can be treated with a variety of hormonal therapy medicines. Advanced HER2-positive breast cancers are commonly treated with the targeted therapy Herceptin. Herceptin only works against breast cancers that have extra HER2 genes or make too many HER2 protein receptors.
While the approval of this combination treatment approach happened in Europe, it is possible that similar approval will happen in the United States and elsewhere. Doctors may also choose to use a proven treatment approach like this even when there hasn’t been official approval to do so. If you are postmenopausal and have advanced (metastatic) breast cancer that is both HER2-positive and hormone-receptor-positive, you may want to talk to your doctor about whether treatment with the combination of hormonal therapy and Herceptin is right for you.