Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Homebreast cancerHerceptin (trastuzumab) for Breast Cancer (HER2) Side Effects & Dosage

Herceptin (trastuzumab) for Breast Cancer (HER2) Side Effects & Dosage

What kind of drug is Herceptin (trastuzumab), and how does it work?

  • Herceptin is an intravenous drug that is part of a
    chemotherapy regimen that is used to prevent recurrence of
    breast cancer, and
    for the treatment breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast
  • It belongs to a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies.
    Other monoclonal antibodies include
    rituximab (Rituxan) and gemtuzumab
    ozogamicin (Mylotarg).
  • A cancer cell has various receptors on its
    surface. Chemicals bind to these receptors and cause changes within the
    cell. One of the receptors that occurs in about one-third of all breast cancers
    is called HER2. HER2 is known to control the growth and development of the
    cancer cells, and the production of new cancer cells. If HER2 receptors are
    present in large numbers on the cancer cells (often referred to as
    overexpression of HER2), then the cancer cells may multiply and grow quickly.
    Normally, the immune system produces antibodies that will detect and attack HER2
    receptors to slow the growth of cancer cells; however, if HER2 is present in
    large numbers, the immune system may be unable to control HER2. Trastuzumab is a
    man-made antibody developed using molecular cloning and recombinant DNA
    technology. Trastuzumab is thought to block the HER2 receptors when there is
    overexpression, thereby blocking growth of the cancer.

What brand names are available for trastuzumab?

  • Herceptin is the brand name available for trastuzumab in the US.

What are the uses for Herceptin (trastuzumab)?

  • Trastuzumab is used for preventing recurrence (adjuvant treatment) of HER2
    overexpressing breast cancer.
  • It also is used for treatment of metastatic breast cancer, metastatic gastric, or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma among patients
    who overexpress HER2.
  • It may be used alone or combined with other
    chemotherapy drugs.

What are the side effects of Herceptin (trastuzumab)?


  • Trastuzumab can cause
    heart failure, especially when it is combined with
    cyclophosphamide and anthracycline-containing
    chemotherapy regimens. Left ventricular function should
    be monitored prior to and during treatment.
  • It should be stopped in
    patients receiving adjuvant therapy, and withheld in patients with metastatic
    cancer if the function of the heart decreases significantly.

Herceptin (trasuzumab) side effects

Common side effects include:

Other side effects include:

Latest Cancer News

Trending on MedicineNet

Privacy Policy. I also agree to receive emails from MedicineNet and I understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet subscriptions at any time.

What is the dosage for Herceptin (trastuzumab)?

  • Trastuzumab is administered by intravenous infusion over 30 to 90

Herceptin for adjuvant treatment

  • The recommended dose of trastuzumab during and following paclitaxel (Taxol), docetaxel
    (Taxotere), or docetaxel/carboplatin (Paraplatin) treatment is 4 mg per kilogram
    of body weight followed by a weekly dose of 2 mg per kilogram of body weight for
    12 weeks or 18 weeks.
  • When it is used alone the dose is 8 mg/kg initially followed by 6 mg/kg every 3

Herceptin for Metastatic breast cancer treatment

  • Trastuzumab 4 mg/kg is administered alone or in combination with paclitaxel
    followed by once weekly doses of 2 mg/kg until there is disease progression.

Herceptin Metastatic Gastric Cancer

  • The initial dose of trastuzumab is 8 mg/kg then 6 mg/kg every 3 weeks until there is disease

What else should I know about Herceptin (trastuzumab)?

What preparations of trastuzumab are available?
  • Trastuzumab is available as a powder in a vial containing 440 mg of the drug.
    It must be mixed with a liquid before intravenous injection.
How should I keep it stored?
  • Trastuzumab should be stored at 2 C to 8 C (36F to 46 F), and should
    not be frozen.
When was XYZ approved by the FDA?
  • Trastuzumab was approved by the FDA in 1998.

Most Popular