José Baselga, MD | Authors




HER2 Overexpression and Paclitaxel Sensitivity in Breast Cancer: Therapeutic Implications

March 01, 1997

Overexpression by the HER2 gene plays a significant role in breast cancer pathogenesis, and the phenomenon is commonly regarded as a predictor of a poor prognosis. HER2 overexpression has been linked to sensitivity and/or resistance to hormone therapy and chemotherapeutic regimens, including CMF (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluoro-uracil) and anthracyclines. Studies of patients with advanced disease demonstrate that, despite the association of HER2 overexpression with poor prognosis, the odds of HER2-positive patients responding clinically to taxanes were greater than three times those of HER2-negative patients. Further studies in preclinical models used combination therapy for breast cancer cells that overexpress HER2, and the use of agents that interfere with HER2 function plus paclitaxel (Taxol) resulted in significant antitumor effects. [ONCOLOGY 11(Suppl):43-48, 1997]

Paclitaxel for Breast Cancer: The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Experience

March 01, 1997

The proven safety profile and antitumor activity of paclitaxel (Taxol) in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer led investigators at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) to further examine the agent's potential in the treatment of advanced breast cancer. Efficacy and tolerability studies of paclitaxel as single-agent therapy were undertaken, along with parallel investigations of quality-of-life parameters. The studies examined the effects of 96-hour infusion schedules of paclitaxel and are currently assessing the feasibility of a weekly 1-hour infusion schedule. Researchers at MSKCC also compared the results of a variety of two- and three-drug paclitaxel-containing regimens to determine possible synergism and better define safety profiles. They examined the combination of paclitaxel and edatrexate, as well as a promising combination of paclitaxel and a monoclonal antibody directed at growth factor receptors. The latter ongoing trial will include both laboratory studies that examine possible cellular mechanisms for the combination's observed synergy and a clinical trial that combines paclitaxel with a monoclonal antibody directed against the epidermal growth factor. In conclusion, the investigators discuss the optimal integration of paclitaxel into doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar)-based adjuvant therapy for node-positive stage II-III resectable breast cancer. [ONCOLOGY 11(Suppl):20-28, 1997]