Lay Summary: Taxol and Herceptin is an aceptable first line chemo regimen for breast cancer.
It generally accepted that the treatment combination consisting of Herceptin ® (trastuzumab) and paclitaxel (Taxol ®) appears to be effective in the treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer that has stopped responding to treatment with anthracyclines and taxanes. Results have demonstrated that treatment with Herceptin ® plus chemotherapy improves outcomes compared with chemotherapy alone in patients with HER2-positive advanced breast cancer.
Researchers from Italy recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate the treatment combination of Herceptin ® plus paclitaxel in women with metastatic breast cancer that has stopped responding to anthracycline and taxanes therapy. This trial involved 25 patients who were HER2-positive. A complete disappearance of cancer was achieved in 16% of patients, a partial disappearance of cancer was achieved in 40% of patients, and disease stabilization was achieved in 16% of patients. The average duration of response to Herceptin ®/paclitaxel was over 10 months.
The researchers concluded that the combination of Herceptin ® and paclitaxel appears to be an effective treatment option for women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer that has stopped responding to anthracyclines and taxanes. However, there appears to be a trend for physicians to treat patients with combinations including Herceptin ® and chemotherapy as initial therapy for HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. NCCN lists this combination as well, although it lists docetaxel rather than paclitaxel with trastuzumab.
Gori S, Colozza M, Mosconi AM, et al. Phase II Study of weekly Paclitaxel and Trastuzumab in Anthracycline-and Taxane-Pretreated Patients with HER2 Overexpressing Metastatic Breast Cancer. British Journal of Cancer. 2004;90:36-40.
Slamon DJ, Leyland-Jones B, et al. Use of chemotherapy plus a monoclonal antibody against HER2 for metastatic breast cancer that overexpresses HER2. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2001;344:783-92.