Appointments

Make your appointment or second opinion with Dana-Farber today to meet with an onsite specialist.

Adult Patients:877-442-3324

Pediatric Patients:888-733-4662

Make Appointment OnlineInternational Patients

Online second opinions

Can’t get to Boston? Explore our Online Second Opinion service to get expert advice from Dana-Farber oncologists.

Request a second opinion

Contact & Directions

Email Dana-Farber

Main Number617-632-3000

Toll-Free Number866-408-DFCI (3324)

Maps & DirectionsContact InformationSend us a Question or Comment

How to Help

Discover the ways to give and how to get involved to support Dana-Farber.

Learn More
Give now

  • 2009 Turning Point

    Clinical trials for new HER2-positive breast cancer therapies

    Eric WinerEric Winer, MD 

    The success, and limitations, of trastuzumab for HER2-positive breast cancer have inspired the creation of a series of novel drugs. Investigators in the Women's Cancers Program (WCP) are leading or offering clinical trials of five classes of these new therapies.

    They include:

    • Agents similar to the drug lapatinib (brand name Tykerb) that latches onto a different portion of the HER2 receptor than does trastuzumab.
    • A compound known as TDM1 that hitches a chemotherapy agent to a specific antibody. By gravitating toward HER2-positive breast cancer cells, the antibody makes a "special delivery" of chemotherapy directly to them.
    • Agents that block or inhibit a protein known as HSP90. HSP90 is a "chaperone" protein that enables the HER2 receptor to function better. Inhibiting HSP90 offers a promising, if indirect, way to disable HER2.
    • Angiogenesis inhibitors that may block the growth of blood vessels that help feed tumors the nutrients they need to grow.

    Finally, studies are planned with pertuzimab, a "monoclonal" antibody (an antibody duplicated millions of times over) that prevents the HER2 receptor from joining to its sister receptors HER1 and HER3. Without such a connection, HER2 cannot activate cell growth.

    "In cases of advanced HER2-positive breast cancer, these potential therapies may provide great hope for women whose cancer is resistant to trastuzumab," says Eric Winer, MD, director of the Breast Oncology Center within the WCP. "For women with early breast tumors, they may offer an increased number of options if the disease progresses."

  •   Email
  •   Print
  •   Share
dana farber logo

450 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

Call us toll-free: 866-408-DFCI (3324)

Connect with us
award

Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center is ranked #4 nationally and the best in New England.

award

Dana-Farber/Boston Children's is ranked the #1 pediatric cancer center.

Sign-up for newsletters