Drugs of interest to pathologists
Drugs related to surgical pathology

Topic Completed: 1 April 2011

Revised: 22 August 2019

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PubMed Search: Trastuzumab [title] Herceptin[title] "loattrfree full text"[sb]

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. Trastuzumab. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/drugsherceptin.html. Accessed October 21st, 2019.
Definition / general
  • A monoclonal antibody that interferes with the HER2/neu receptor
Trade name
  • Herceptin®
Clinical information
  • Approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration for:
    • Adjuvant therapy for HER2 overexpressing node positive or node negative (ER / PR negative or with one high risk feature) breast carcinoma
    • Metastatic breast carcinoma with HER2 overexpression
    • Metastatic gastric carcinoma: in combination with cisplatin and capecitabine or 5-fluorouracil, for the treatment of patients with HER2 overexpressing metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma, who have not received prior treatment for metastatic disease
    • Costs ~$70,000 for a course of treatment
Uses by pathologists
  • HER2 testing is obtained on breast carcinoma specimens because patients with HER2 overexpression are candidates for trastuzumab therapy
  • HER2 testing is usually performed using a combination of immunohistochemistry and FISH (see HER2)
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