Boston, MA (PRWEB) December 04, 2012
Doctors Health Press, a division of Lombardi Publishing Corporation, and publisher of various natural health newsletters, books, and reports, including the popular online Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin, is reporting on a study out of Yale University that warns the drug “Herceptin” could significantly increase the risk of heart failure in older women with breast cancer who are already at an alarmingly high risk.
As Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin (http://www.doctorshealthpress.com/cancer-articles/breast-cancer/certain-cancer-drug-elevates-the-risk-of-heart-failure) notes, the health warning targets “adjuvant trastuzumab,” which goes by the brand name Herceptin. It is used for breast tumors linked to the “HER-2 factor,” a protein that seems to have a causal role in breast cancer. The matter is rising in importance, as oncologists are prescribing trastuzumab in greater frequency than before. The drug’s use rose to 22.6% of women receiving therapy related to breast cancer in 2007 from 2.6% in 2000.
As the article “Certain Cancer Drug Elevates the Risk of Heart Failure” reports, the study came about because women at greater heart risk were typically not included in studies on trastuzumab. In healthier, younger women, the drug improves survival rates, but also increases the incidence of heart complications. But, this new study out of Yale found an even greater risk of heart failure in older women after trastuzumab therapy than was previously believed.
According to the Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin article, the study included over 45,500 women with early-stage breast cancer. It examined the link between trastuzumab and anthracycline therapy, and heart failure and cardiomyopathy, which are the most serious heart complications. The study discovered that trastuzumab was linked to a 14% higher rate of heart failure over three years, compared to patients who did not receive chemotherapy or trastuzumab. Patients who received both trastuzumab and anthracycline (another chemotherapy drug class) had a 23.8% higher rate.
As the article concludes, further study is needed to better understand the benefits and risks of drugs such as trastuzamab. The Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin concludes that while in many cases these drugs warranted, there are other options, particularly for older women who may already be at higher risk of heart failure.
(SOURCE: Chen, J., et al., “Incidence of Heart Failure or Cardiomyopathy After Adjuvant Trastuzumab Therapy for Breast Cancer,” Journal of the American College of Cardiology, published online November 14, 2012.)
Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin is a daily e-letter providing natural health news with a focus on natural healing through foods, herbs, and other breakthrough health alternative treatments. For more information on Doctors Health Press, visit http://www.doctorshealthpress.com.
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