Chemotherapy for breast cancer brain metastases

About 15% to 20% of patients with invasive breast cancer have abnormally high levels of HER2.It is important to remember that breast cancer that spreads to these other organs is still considered breast cancer and treated similarly.These cancers tend to be more likely to spread than other types of breast cancer, particularly to the brain.These recommendations are for the treatment of human epidermal receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast.HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer will spread to the brain in up to half of patients.When a breast cell has abnormally high levels of the HER2 gene or the HER2 protein, it is called HER2- positive.Breast cancer most commonly spreads to the bone, lungs, liver, and brain.Hormone receptors are found inside breast cells and HER2 is found on the surface of breast cells.Some women are diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer after having received treatment for early-stage breast cancer.Examples of these drugs include trastuzumab (Herceptin), lapatinib (Tykerb), pertuzumab (Perjeta), and ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla), commonly referred to as T-DM1.Cancers with high levels of hormone receptors, called hormone receptor-positive, use the hormones estrogen and progesterone to grow and spread.

For others, the first diagnosis of breast cancer is when it has already spread.Some of these drugs may be used together with chemotherapy.Treatment options for metastatic breast cancer depend on several factors, including where the cancer has spread, the patient’s overall health, and the levels of hormone receptors and HER2 in the tumor.This guide for patients and caregivers is based on ASCO's recommendations.Both hormone receptors and HER2 are specialized proteins.

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