Herceptin is a form of targeted cancer therapy known as a monoclonal antibody. It is a man-made protein designed to act just like the antibodies produced by our immune system, by seeking out a specific protein on a cell and attaching to it. Some types of breast cancer cells have a receptor being overexpressed, called HER2/neu, which causes the breast cancer to grow out of control. Herceptin finds and attaches to this receptor, essentially turning it off.
This medication is used to treat new cases of breast cancer or disease that has spread to other parts of the body. Other medicines that are used along with Herceptin often incude:
Herceptin is also used in combination with cisplatin and capecitabine or 5-fluorouracil to treat metastatic gastric cancer (stomach and esophagus cancer that has spread) with over expression of the HER2 protein.
Before you begin treatment with Herceptin, you and your doctor should talk about the benefits this medicine will have as well as the risks of using it.
This medicine is to be administered only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor. Herceptin is injected into a vein (intravenous infusion) in a medical clinic or hospital.