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NCI Cancer Center News

Certain breast cancer patients may benefit from combined HER-2 targeted treatment without chemotherapy

  • Posted: April 10, 2013

In a report that appears online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers have shown that a subset of breast cancer patients who have tumors overexpressing a protein called the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2 positive) may benefit from a combination of targeted treatments that zero in on the breast cancer cells themselves. That could enable some women to avoid the "sledgehammer" of typical chemotherapy drugs that kill normal and tumor cells alike and avoid triggering resistance in tumor cells. Institutions taking part in the study were: the Baylor College of Medicine (home to the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center), Vanderbilt University (home of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center), the University of Alabama Birmingham (home of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center), the University of Chicago (home of the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center), the Mayo Clinic, and the Methodist Hospital.

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Among the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.