The protein HER2, or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, can play a role in the development of breast cancer.
"Between 20% and 30% of all newly diagnosed stage 4 breast cancer cases are HER2-positive," said Ross Mudgway, the study's lead author and a third-year student in the UCR School of Medicine. "This form of breast cancer once had poor outcomes, but in recent years, advances in targeted therapy have led to improved survival."
Meeting - Years - Patients - Breast - Cancer
Mudgway explained at the meeting that in recent years, most patients with HER2-positive breast cancer have been treated with systemic therapy, which could include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or endocrine therapy.
"Surgery is sometimes offered to these patients, but previous research on whether surgery improves survival has yielded mixed results," he said.
Mudgway - Author - Dr - Sharon - Lum
According to Mudgway and senior author Dr. Sharon Lum, a professor in the Department of Surgery-Division of Surgical Oncology and medical director of the Breast Health Center at Loma Linda University Health, HER2 status has been reported in large registry data sets since 2010, but the impact of surgery on this type of breast cancer has not been well documented across hospital systems. The researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study of 3,231 women with HER2-positive stage 4 breast cancer, using records from the National Cancer Database from 2010-12.
They found that 89.4% of the women had received chemotherapy or targeted therapies, 37.7% had received endocrine therapy, and 31.8% had received radiation. Overall, 1,130 women, or 35%, received surgery.
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