According to the results of a Phase II clinical trial, Herceptin® (trastuzumab)—a targeted therapy used in the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer—may have a role in the treatment of HER2-positive advanced bladder cancer. Larger studies will be necessary to further evaluate Herceptin in bladder cancer. Because some bladder cancers have also been found to overexpress HER2, researchers conducted a Phase II clinical trial to evaluate Herceptin in combination with chemotherapy among patients with HER2-positive advanced cancer of the bladder, renal pelvis, or ureter.
Of 109 patients tested for HER2, 57 (52%) were positive. Forty-four of these patients were enrolled in the study. In addition to Herceptin, study participants received chemotherapy with paclitaxel, carboplatin, and gemcitabine. 11% of patients experienced a complete disappearance of detectable cancer, and 59% of patients experienced a partial disappearance of detectable cancer (overall response rate of 70%). Half the patients survived longer than 14 months. Heart problems are a potential side effect of Herceptin therapy, and 23% of study participants experienced heart complications. Few of these complications were severe. The researchers conclude that additional study of the role of Herceptin in HER2-positive bladder cancer is warranted.
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Hussain MHA, MacVicar GR, Petrylak DP et al. Trastuzumab, paclitaxel, carboplatin, and gemcitabine in advanced human epidermal growth factor receptor-2/neu-positive urothelial carcinoma: results of a multicenter phase II National Cancer Institute Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2007;25:2218-2224.
nccn.org, Bladder Cancer