Trastuzumab, monoclonal antibody
Thursday, 7 February 2013
The HER receptors are proteins that are embedded in the cell membrane and communicate molecular signals from outside the cell (molecules called EGFs) to inside the cell, and turn genes on and off. The HER proteins stimulate cell proliferation. In some cancers, notably certain types of breast cancer, HER2 is over-expressed, and causes cancer cells to reproduce uncontrollably.
The original studies of trastuzumab showed that it improved overall survival in late-stage (metastatic) breast cancer from 20.3 to 25.1 months, but there is controversy over whether trastuzumab is effective in earlier stage cancer.Trastuzumab is also controversial because of its cost, as much as $100,000 per year, and while certain private insurance companies in the U.S. and government health care systems in Canada, England and elsewhere have refused to pay for trastuzumab for certain patients, some companies have since accepted trastuzumab treatment as a covered preventative treatment.
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