Overcoming resistance to Herceptin?

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Question from Joan: Dr. Seidman, what are the available and under-investigation options to overcome resistance to Herceptin?
Answers - Andrew D. Seidman, M.D. Currently, the only agent that has been shown to improve the effectiveness of conventional therapy in Herceptin resistant breast cancer is Tykerb, or lapatinib, based on the trial we spoke of earlier. Another promising agent reported by my colleague Dr. Shanu Modi at the ASCO meeting this spring is an agent known as 17AAG. This is also known as KOS-953. This novel agent inhibits a molecule known as heat-shock protein 90 and causes degradation of the HER2 receptor. Dr. Modi reported responses with this agent in combination with Herceptin in patients whose cancer had recently progressed on other chemotherapy with Herceptin. There is also data from Dr. Storniolo from the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December 2005 demonstrating the role for Tykerb and this might perhaps in the future be observed with other tyrosine kinase inhibitors. We have also studied Cox-2 inhibitors, such as Celebrex (chemical name: celecoxib), based on laboratory evidence, but unfortunately found no evidence that this strategy had any effectiveness in Herceptin-resistant breast cancer. Other strategies under investigation include tumor vaccines, the agent pertuzimab, which is a monoclonal antibody targeting a different portion of the HER2 receptor than Herceptin, among others.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Targeted Therapies: What Is Right for You? featured Andrew Seidman, M.D. and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answering your questions about different kinds of targeted therapies and how they work.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in July 2006.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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